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Wednesday, Jan 18

   by Larry Ness - 01/18/2006

All three of college basketball's remaining unbeatens are in action on Wednesday. No. 1 Duke (16-0) will host North Carolina State (14-2) on ESPN at 7:00 ET. A win will match the school's best-ever start of 17-0, set by the 1991-92 team which opened 17-0 on the way to a second consecutive national title. Duke has beaten NC St in 18 of the last 20 meetings between the schools and has won NINE straight home games, since losing 77-60 exactly 11 years ago today! Duke is favored by 11 points with a total of 145.

My free play is in Wednesday's NBA. Take the San Antonio Spurs over the Milwaukee Bucks at 8:35 ET. I'm ready to extend my current 5-2 CBB mini-run with another 15* CBB winner (3-1-1 in '06), my first Las Vegas Insider in CBB for '06 and my 10* MAC Game of the Month. In the NBA, get my 1st 15* since late-December!

No. 2 Florida (16-0) is off to its best-ever start and hosts Savannah St in a non-lined game. You may remember that Savannah St went 0-28 last year. How are the Tigers doing this year? Well they opened with a 63-59 win over Wilberforce (not making that name up!) but have since lost 17 consecutive gamest Let's make the Gators about a 10-point favorite! The nation's third unbeaten team, Pittsburgh (14-0), is at Rutgers (12-4) at 8:00 ET.

The Panthers have opened at least 10-0 in each of the last three seasons and own seven straight wins over the Scarlet Knights. Pitt is favored by 2 1/2 points with a total of 132. Another game of note in tonight's 37-game CBB card is at 8:30 ET on ESPN2, where Wisconsin (14-2) is Ohio State (12-2). The Badgers (4-0) are the lone unbeaten team in the Big-10 and have beaten the Buckeyes in their last five meetings. However, Wisconsin hasn't opened a year 15-2 since the 1929-30 season! Ohio St is a 4 1/2-point favorite with a total of 139 1/2.

ESPN televises the LeBron/Carmelo showdown at 9:05 ET. The Cavs enter on a four-game losing streak (1-3 ATS) and have opened their season-long six-game road trip, 0-3. The Nuggets have won six of their last eight games (7-1 ATS) and are favored by five points with a total of 202 1/2. In five previous meetings between the top-two players from the 2003 draft, the Cavs are 3-2, after beating the Nuggets 94-85 on December 15 in Cleveland.

Interestingly, James is averaging just 20.8 PPG and Anthony just 18.2 PPG in those five meetings, totals far below the players' season averages this year (James is at 31.1 PPG and Anthony at 25.7 PPG). Tonight's NBA card features 12 games and the NHL offers a three-game slate.

My NFL previews were supposed to begin today but I'm running behind. THEY WILL start tomorrow.

Ness Notes is available Monday through Friday by 1:00 ET. Saturday and Sunday's notes are available at 7:00 ET.

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