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Wednesday, Jan 25

   by Larry Ness - 01/25/2006

The Ron Artest story somewhat overshadows a busy 12-game schedule in tonight's NBA, so I'll turn my attention to Wednesday's 42-game college basketball card.

My free play on Wednesday is North Carolina over Boston College at 9:00 ET. After a 2-0 sweep in last night's college hoops, I'm now 14-5-1 since January 14. Tonight, I'm back with two more HUGE 20* plays, my Conference Rivalry GOY and my Conference Revenge GOY. I'm also featuring my first 15* CBB total of the season. My 15* plays in CBB have opened '06 winning at the rate of 75%! In the NBA, I look to bounce back from last night's loss, with my Line Value Game of the Month.

As always, the ESPN 'family' has the college hoops scene covered. On ESPN Classic at 7:00 ET, No. 15 North Carolina St hosts Seton Hall. The Wolf Pack are 12-0 at home and Seton Hall has not beaten a ranked team since knocking off Arizona 80-76 back in the 2004 NCAA Tournament. The Pirates have lost 11 straight games to ranked opponents since that win. NC State is favored by 15 with a total of 134 1/2.

Georgia Tech hosts No. 18 Maryland on ESPN at 7:00 ET. The 13-4 Terrapins just lost their leading scorer for the year, Chris McCray (15.2 PPG), to poor grades. Maryland head coach Gary Williams needs one more win to tie Lefty Driesell's school-record of 348 career wins. The Terps are the ACC's highest-scoring team and are 10-0 this year when scoring 80 points or more. Ga Tech is just 9-7 but is favored by two points with a total of 151.

Two first-year Big East members, Cincinnati and Louisville, meet on ESPN2 at 7:30 ET. The Bearcats and Cardinals have been rivals for a long time (remember the Metro Conference?) and just left C-USA after last season. Cincinnati is in its first season after 16 years of Bob Huggins as its head coach. Louisville was in the Final Four last year in just Rick Pitino's 4th season at the school but this year's team has seven new faces.

No. 22 Louisville is 13-5 overall but just 1-4 in its new league. Cincinnati is 14-5 overall (3-2 in the Big East) and just ended a three-game losing streak on Sunday, when it beat Rutgers. The Bearcats lost forward Armein Kirkland for the season a little over a week ago and Louisville's leading scorer, Taquan Dean, is questionable for this game with ankle problems. The Cardinals are a one-point favorite with a total of 138 1/2.

Michigan State is at Michigan on ESPNU at 8:00 ET. The 11th-ranked Spartans are 15-4 this year and begin a stretch here versus 13-3 Michigan, in which they will face seven straight unranked opponents. Michigan has lost eight straight games to ranked foes and 12 of its last 13 versus Michigan State. The Spartans are a two-point favorite with a total of 141 1/2.

Two games of note are not nationally televised. No. 5 Florida will be at South Carolina at 8:00 ET and No. 8 Illinois will host Minnesota at 9:00 ET. Florida lost its first game of the season at Tennessee on Saturday and will look to get back on the winning track over a 10-8 South Carolina team it's beaten seven straight times and 13 of 14. The Gators are favored by three points with a total of 138.

Illinois will attempt to tie a school record tonight, by winning its 32nd straight home game. The Illini have beaten Minnesota 13 straight times and the Gophers come into this game on a five-game losing streak, having shot less than 40 percent in each one. Illinois is favored by 15 points with a total of 125.

Speaking of home winning streaks, Southern Illinois won its 33rd straight at home last night, 62-48 over Creighton, giving the "boys from Carbondale". the longest current home winnig streak in the nation. Gonzaga has won 32 straight at home and Illinois will likely join them tonight at 32.

I was on the road all day yesterday, so will resume my NFL reports tomorrow. Remember, Ness Notes is available Monday through Friday by 1:00 ET.

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