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Sunday, Jan 29
by Larry Ness - 01/29/2006
Duke, Florida and Pittsburgh all won yesterday in college hoops, a much better result than the previous Saturday, when all three teams suffered their first loss of the season. No. 4 Texas was the day's biggest loser, as the Longhorns saw their nine-game winning streak snapped by Oklahoma at Norman, when they lost 82-72 to the Sooners.
My free play for Sunday is on Arkansas over Kentucky at 1:00 ET. Saturday was a DISASTER, as my free play was my only winner of the day (Va Tech an outright upset winner over Wake Forest)! After a 16-6-1 CBB run from 1/14 through 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 in CBB (70% winning rate since Jan 1) plus one of my exclusive Las Vegas Insider Plays. In the NBA, after three-day pass, it's my 10* Inter-Conf Game of the Month on the Suns/Cavs.
It was a not good week for long winning streaks, as West Va saw its 12-game winning streak end on Wednesday by losing 58-52 as a 16-point favorite to a Marshall team, that entered that game with just seven wins! The very next day, UAB saw its 10-game winning streak end at Memphis, 73-66. Saturday, it was Texas' turn.
Texas entered last night's game having held all nine opponents to less than 40 percent from the floor in each of its wins, allowing an average of just 51.2 PPG during the streak. Naturally, Oklahoma made 31-of-57 FG attempts on Saturday (54.4 percent), while scoring 82 points.
However, two winning streaks of note didn't come close to ending on Saturday. Both Illinois and Gonzaga joined Southern Illinois at 33 straight home wins (the nation's longest current streak), when 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 back on 1/10/04) but the Illini's 18-point win ups the school's record at home to 90-3 since the beginning of the 1999-2000 season.
Interestingly, Portland (like Purdue), was also the last team to have won on Gonzaga's home court in Spokane (2/19/04). The Pilots couldn't stop Adam Morrison, the nation's leading scorer at 29 PPG. Morrison had 30 points at the half and finished with 42. He has now topped 30 points nine times this year, including four games of more than 40 points. While Portland may be the last team to have won 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' in their wins, so Purdue and Portland did come up 'winners' for some people!
TV matchups for Sunday are Arkansas at Kentucky and Indiana at Minnesota on CBS at 1:00 ET. Kentucky (13-6) is a four-point favorite over 14-5 Arkansas with a total of 130 1/2. In the Big-10 game, the Hoosiers are favored by 3 1/2 points over Minnesota with a total of 133. Minnesota has opened 0-6 in the Big-10, shooting less than 40 percent in each game, while averaging only 57.7 PPG.
Other games of note 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 remaining team in the Big East without a conference loss (5-0) but saw its 12-game winning streak stopped this past Wednesday by Marshall (see above). The Red Storm own home upsets of Louisville and Pittsburgh in the last two weeks, so the Mountaineers (2 1/2-point favorites with a total of 122) won't expect a "walk in the park."
Washington hasn't won in Stanford's Maples Pavilion since a 68-67 win back on 1/20/93! So when the 16-3 and 10th-ranked Huskies tip off tonight at 8:00 ET against the unranked and 9-7 Cardinal, they clearly won't be OVERCONFIDENT. Washington is favored by two points with a total of 150 1/2.
The NBA features a six-game card on Sunday. ABC has a doubleheader with the Suns at the Cavs (1:05 ET) and the Heat at the Rockets (3:35 ET). The Cavs are favored by two points with a total of 206 1/2. Back on January 14 in Phoenix, the Suns won 115-106, as they shot 54.7 percent from the floor, including 11-of-17 on three-pointers. James had 46 points for the Cavs in that loss and is averaging 35.5 PPG 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 has no early 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 own the league's best record at 36-5, the Lakers enter this game just 23-19. Of course LA has Kobe but Detroit owns the league's best "starting-five.". The Pistons are 19-2 at home but just 10-11 ATS. LA is 14-8 ATS on the road, so maybe the pointspread (Detroit is favored by 8 1/2 points with a total of 196 1/2) can be the great equalizer?