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Tuesday, Jan 31

   by Larry Ness - 01/31/2006

Tuesday's NBA six-game card is highlighted by Detroit visiting New Jersey at 7:35 ET. The Pistons are off to the 4th-best 42-game start in NBA history at 37-5 and will take an 11-game winning streak (a league season-high) into the contest. The Nets own a eight-game home winning streak but that's a little deceiving.

The Nets enter this contest on a four-game losing streak (0-4 ATS) and have dropped EIGHT of their last 11, since winning 10 straight games from 12/16 through 1/8. The Pistons are a league-best 17-3 on the road (13-7 ATS), while the Nets are just 12-6 (8-10 ATS) at home, despite their eight consecutive wins. Detroit is favored by six points with a total of 183 1/2.

My free play for Tuesday is in the NBA. Take the LA Lakers over the NY Knicks at 7:35 ET. Coming off an EASY WINNER with my latest 22* in CBB (Kansas 86-52!), I'm releasing not one but TWO 15* plays in CBB (off to a 67% start with CBB 15*s in '06!).

Before getting to tonight's college basketball games, let's here it for MORGAN STATE! I said yesterday, Morgan State had a chance against Howard on Monday at home and those oh-so-Golden Bears won their first game of the season, 79-75. At 1-18, Morgan State now leaves Division I with no winless teams, as well as no undefeated teams. Let's see if President Bush mentions THAT in tonight's State of the Union!

It's just a 10-game college basketball card but it's a good one. The best game of the night is not on TV. No. 9 Pitt is at No. 1 U Conn. The Panthers have NEVER beaten a top-ranked team (0-12), in the school's 100-year basketball history. However, the Panthers are the ONLY team to have beaten the Huskies at Storrs (1/22/05), in the last three years! U Conn is ranked No. 1 for the second straight week and is 5-0 this season versus top-25 opponents. The Huskies are favored by eight points with a total of 140.

ESPN starts the night off with No. 6 Illinois at Wisconsin (7:00 ET). The Illini have had some road woes as of late, shooting just 38.3 percent from the field and averaging just 55.3 PPG while losing two of their last three road games. However, Wisconsin comes in losers of three of its last four contests. Revenge is surely on the Badgers' mind in this one, as Illinois ended Wisconsin's 38-game home winning streak on this court last February 12. Wisconsin is 11-1 SU at home this year (actually lost to North Dakota St!) and is 69-4 at the Kohl Center under head coach Bo Ryan. The Badgers are favored by 2 1/2 points with a total of 128 1/2.

On ESPN2 at 8:00 ET, No. 8 Florida is at Ole Miss. Florida has lost two of three (both on the road) since opening 17-0, while Ole Miss (13-6) has lost three straight since a seven-game winning streak. Florida's Brewer is nursing a bad ankle and Humphrey, the team's best 3-point shooter, is out after injuring himself in a bicycle accident (you can't make this up!). The Gators are favored by 5 1/2 points with a total of 139 1/2.
ESPN Classic has No. 17 Georgetown at 8-10 DePaul at 8:30 ET (Hoyas are favored by 5 1/2 points with a total of 129) and ESPNU carries No. 25 Northern Iowa at Creighton (9:00 ET).

The Panthers of Northern Iowa have been to the last two NCAA tournaments but Monday entered the AP's top-25 (at No. 25), for the first time in the school's 106-year history (that's LONG wait!). Creighton beat Northern Iowa 55-52 back on January 11 in Cedar Falls (I'm sure everyone knew where No. Iowa was located), the Panthers' lone home loss this year. In the rematch, the Blue Jays are a 2 1/2-point favorite with a total of 121 1/2. That should come as no surprise, as Creighton is 11-0 at home this year and has beaten Northern Iowa NINE straight times in Omaha (again, did anyone outside of Nebraska know where Creighton was located?).

Monday's latest top-25 rankings saw Maryland, Louisville , Wisconsin and Syracuse drop out. New entries other than Northern Iowa were No. 21 Michigan (1st top-25 ranking since the final poll of 1997-98), No. 23 Iowa (back after being ranked in the year's first seven polls) and No. 23 LSU (the SEC's lone unbeaten team in conference-play).

George Washington (16-1), moved up to No. 10, the school's first top-10 ranking since January 3, 1956 when the Colonials were ranked seventh. That's for my dad, a proud GW grad!

Ness Notes is available Monday through Friday by 1:00 ET. Saturday and Sunday, it's available by 9:00 ET.

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