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Wednesday, Feb 1

   by Larry Ness - 02/01/2006

The Nets proved the Pistons can be beat last night, as New Jersey ended Detroit's 11-game winning streak with 91-84 victory in the Meadowlands. It marked New Jersey's NINTH straight home win but the Nets are back on the road tonight in Cleveland, one of 13 games in a busy NBA schedule.

New Jersey owns five straight wins over Cleveland (two this year) but has lost its last five road games (0-5 ATS), while the Cavs enter on a six-game winning streak (5-0-1 ATS), in which LeBron has averaged 36 PPG. Cleveland is favored by 6 1/2 points with a total of 187 1/2 (7:05 ET).

My free play on Wednesday is in college hoops. Take Kentucky over Miss St at 8:00 ET. I have a HUGE Wednesday! In CBB, I have two 20* GOY plays (MWC / C-USA) and a Triple 10* Game of the Month Report. In the NBA, it's just my second LEGEND Play of the season (won 1st)!

Other games of note in tonight's NBA are Minnesota at Detroit (7:35 ET), Atlanta at Charlotte (7:35 ET) and Dallas at Memphis (8:05 ET). Flip Saunders won in his return to Minnesota back on 1/24 (107-83) but the T-wolves are 12-4 versus the Pistons since the beginning of the 1997-98 season. Detroit's loss ended an 11-game winning streak, just the team's SIXTH loss this year. How have the Pistons fared after their first five losses? Just fine thank-you, winning by an average of 12.8 PPG. Detroit is favored by 8 1/2 points with a total of 184 1/2.

Charlotte tries to end the league's longest current losing streak (12 straight), when the Bobcats host the Hawks. The Bobcats are missing leading scorer Gerald Wallace plus last season's rookie-of-the-year (Okafor) and have averaged just 89.5 PPG during their losing streak. The good news is Atlanta is just 3-17 on the road this season. Atlanta is favored by 1 1/2 points with a total of 200 1/2.

With Detroit's loss, Dallas now owns the league's longest winning streak at nine straight. The Mavs have held all nine opponents to less than 100 points in the streak but tonight face the league's best defensive team in Memphis. The Grizzlies allow just 87.1 PPG, compared to Dallas' average of 93.7 PPG. The Mavs, 18-6 on the road this year, are favored by 1 1/2 points with a total of 180 1/2.

As mentioned yesterday, Northern Iowa (at No. 25) was ranked for the first time in its 106-year history. That ranking won't last long though, as the Panthers lost 63-55 last night to Creighton (10th straight loss in Omaha to the Blue Jays). Another Panther team, Pitt, lost at No. 1 U Conn, 80-76. While Panther bettors 'covered', Pitt has still never beaten a team ranked No. 1 in its 100-year history (0-13).

There are 43 games on the college 'board' tonight, highlighted by doubleheaders on both ESPN and ESPN2. Also, Southern Illinois, tied with Illinois and Gonzaga for the nation's longest current home winning streak (at 33), will host an Indiana State team at 8:00 ET, which has lost 11straight games (Salukis are favored by 16 points with a total of 114).

No. 11 West Va will host Notre Dame at 7:00 ET on ESPN. Notre Dame has opened 1-6 in the Big East, its worst start since joining the conference in 1995-96. However, the Irish have beaten the Mountaineers 11 straight times! West Va, the Big East's lone unbeaten team in conference play (6-0), will be trying to beat Notre Dame for the first time since 1999. West Va is favored by 7 1/2 points with a total of 143. At 9:00 ET, it's No. 2 Duke at No. 15 Boston College. BC opened 0-3 in its first year in the ACC but has won four straight. Duke is favored by 5 1/2 points with a total of 150.

ESPN2 opens with No. 23 Iowa at Purdue (7:00 ET) and follows with No. 7 Texas at Missouri (9:00 ET). Purdue is just 1-7 in the Big-10 (last place) and has lost 13 straight games to ranked opponents. Iowa is an eight-point favorite with a total of 125. Texas, which saw its nine-game winning streak stopped by Oklahoma on Saturday, takes on a Missouri team which has lost three straight games, all by double-digits. Texas is favored by 11 1/2 points with a total of 135 1/2.

Super XL Update...First we had a controversy over which color jersey the Steelers would be wearing, now it's Texas A&M filing a restraining order against the Seahawks for their "12th man" marketing campaign. You think maybe two weeks is too long between the conference title games and the "main event?"

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

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