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Sunday, Feb 5

   by Larry Ness - 02/05/2006

Six of the eight schools still winless in conference play were in action on Saturday but only Dartmouth (Ivy League) was able to win. The Big Green picked up their first conference victory by winning at Columbia, 78-68.

Ten Division 1 schools remained unbeaten in conference play entering Saturday's action and all but George Washington (which plays today) were in action. Of the nine, SIX won and THREE lost. The winners were Bucknell, Duke, Gonzaga, Memphis, Penn and West Va. The losers were Delaware St, LSU and Northern Arizona.

My free play for Sunday is Seton Hall over Rutgers in college hoops at 12:00 ET. Coming off a 2-1 day in BKB, I've now gone 5-2 71.4% since a poor Wednesday. Sunday I'm featuring a lone CBB game, one of my coveted 15* plays. My Super Bowl XL selection carries a 22* rating, the highest star-rating I give. It represents my 22nd year in the business. Be sure to check back at 10:00 ET, as I may be adding a late BKB play.

While three conference unbeatens fell on Saturday, four more struggled to win. No. 2 Duke edged Florida State in OT (97-96) in a game that featured 26 ties and 17 lead changes. No.3 Memphis won its 10th straight game, winning 84-79 at Rice. The 8-11 Owls, gave the Tigers all they could handle. No. 11 West Va struggled early but finally put away Cincinnati, 66-57 and Bucknell trailed by eight at the half, before winning 68-59 at Colgate. The Bison shot 67 percent in the second half plus made 16-of-19 free throws.

Three conference unbeatens lost on Saturday. LSU lost at Alabama 67-62, Delaware St of the MEAC lost to a 7-13 South Carolina St team 63-51 and Northern Arizona of the Big Sky lost 73-61 to a 10-12 Eastern Washington team.

Illinois saw its 33-game home winning streak ended last night, when Ron McBride's potential game-winning shot at the buzzer was ruled to have been released after the clock had gone to 0:00! Penn State, which had lost 18 straight games to ranked opponents, beat No. 6 Illinois, 66-65, as a 19 1/2-point underdog! Earlier this week, Southern Illinois had its 33-game home winning streak snapped by Creighton.

However, it wasn't all bad news this week for the "33-club", as last night Gonzaga had little trouble with Santa Clara in Spokane. The Bulldogs led the Broncos by 25 points midway through the second half and tied a school-record by winning its 34th straight home game, 85-71. However, the win wasn't much consolation for Gonzaga bettors, as the Bulldogs were 18-point favorites.

There are 11 games scheduled in college hoops on Super Bowl Sunday. CBS televises No. 19 Oklahoma at Kansas. Oklahoma has won five straight but has lost its last seven games in Lawrence. The Jayhawks are a young team but they seem to be getting it together, having won four straight and 11 of their last 13. Kansas is favored by six points with a total of 135. Although not televised nationally, four other top-25 teams are in action on Sunday.

No. 9 Pittsburgh is at No. 17 Georgetown at 12:00 ET, No. 10 George Washington hosts Richmond also at 12:00 ET and No. 18 North Carolina St hosts Maryland at 2:00 ET. Georgetown (on a five-game winning streak) is favored by 3 1/2-points with a total of 128. Pitt, which won its first 15 games this year, is 2-2 over its last four, including an 80-76 loss at No. 1 U Conn last Monday. While the Hoyas are favored, they have lost five straight to the Panthers.

No. 10 George Washington puts its perfect 7-0 Atlantic-10 mark on the line today, as well as its first top-10 ranking in a half-century (was ranked No. 7 back in 1956!), when the Colonials host an 11-9 Richmond team. GW is favored by 16 points with a total of 127.

No. 18 North Carolina St, 13-1 at home, will host Maryland, a team that lost its leading scorer (Chris McCray) to academic suspension three games ago. The Terps have lost two straight, as Maryland head coach Gary Williams remains tied at 348 career wins at his alma mater, with former Maryland coach Lefty Driesell. The Wolfpack are favored by seven points with a total of 152.

Vince Carter recorded his second career triple-double on Saturday (28-13-10), as the Nets won their 10th consecutive home game, beating the Heat 105-92. The Pistons hardly looked like the league's best team last night at Indiana, as the Pacers beat them 93-85.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks won their 11th straight game 110-91 over the Sonics, matching the NBA's longest winning streak this season. The Mavs, not known as a defensive team, have held all 11 opponents to under 100 points during the streak, a franchise record.

Super Bowl Sunday features a light 3-game schedule in the NBA. ABC has Houston at the New York Knicks at 12:05 ET. The Rockets have both Ming and McGrady back (11-6 with both in the lineup this year) but the Knicks are expected to be without Marbury. Jalen Rose makes his Knick debut but there is no early line on the game.

The Kings get a quick rematch with the Jazz today, after Sacramento lost 89-79 Friday night in Utah. The amazing stat from that game was, Sacramento's 0-for-20 in FG attempts in the 4th quarter! Utah outscored Sacramento 34-12 in the quarter. Today's game, a 12:30 ET start, has no early line as the ever-lovable Ron Artest is questionable with a hip injury.

Super Bowl XL is set to kickoff at 6:30 ET. The Steelers are favored by four points with the total hovering around 47. Good luck on the game. That is, if you have my side!

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


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