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Monday, Feb 6

   by Larry Ness - 02/06/2006

While it could hardly be considered SUPER, another Super Bowl is in the books, as the Steelers beat the Seahawks on Sunday, 21-10. For the 26th time in 40 all-time Super bowls, the game was decided by 10 points or more and the Steelers' 'cover' as a four-point favorite, ended a streak of four consecutive pointspread wins by Super Bowl underdogs!

What an ending we could have had if Seattle, trailing by 11 points as the game wound down, had been able to score a TD in the game's final seconds. The Seahawks, trailing 21-16, almost assuredly would have gone for two points on the conversion (regardless of how little time was left), meaning that ALL wagers would have be determined on that ONE play, maybe even with NO time left on the clock!

The game would have 'fell' FIVE on a failed two-point conversion try, or THREE, on a successful one! That ending would have made Pittsburgh's 35-31 win over Dallas in SB XIII (Pitt was favored by anywhere from 3 1/2-to-4 1/2 points), seem like a day at Disneyland. I've got much more to say about the game but yesterday was a LONG day, so I'll get to it over the next few days.

My free play is the GS Warriors over the Den Nuggets (10:35 ET). Coming off my 22* winner with Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl, I'm getting back to work in both the NBA and college hoops. I open the week with my 10* TV Game of the Month in CBB and my 10* Eastern Conference Game of the Week in the NBA.

Sunday's college basketball featured two HUGE comebacks. No. 17 Georgetown trailed No. 9 Pitt by 15 points in the first half but came back to win, 61-58. Kansas trailed No. 19 Oklahoma by 50-34 in the second half at Lawrence but rallied to beat the Sooners, 59-58. No. 10 George Washington, one of just SEVEN schools still unbeaten in conference play, had little trouble moving to 18-1 (8-0 in the A-10), as it beat Richmond 80-55.

It's a light card in college hoops tonight (12 games) but it is Big Monday. ESPN2 gets all three games, starting with Louisville at Cincinnati at 7:00 ET. Both teams are struggling in the Big East this year, with the Cardinals going 3-6 in league play after opening 12-1 in their non-conference schedule and the Bearcats starting 4-5. Cincy lost forward Kirkland in the U Conn game (Jan 9) and including that contest, is 2-6 SU and 1-7 ATS without him. The Cardinals just beat Cincy in Louisville on Jan 25 (67-50), however the Bearcats are favored by 2 1/2 points with a total of 137 1/2.

No. 7 Texas is in Lubbock at 9:00 ET to take on Bob Knight and the Red Raiders. Knight has averaged 22.5 wins per season in his first four years at Texas Tech but this year's team is just 12-10, although the Red Raiders are 11-1 at home. However, Texas is 19-3 on the year (best start since the 1977-78 team) and has gone 62-5 versus fellow Texas schools under Rick Barnes, including 13-2 versus the Red Raiders. Texas is favored by 10 1/2 points with a total of 134 1/2.

No. 5 Gonzaga hosts St Mary's in the nightcap at 12:00 midnight ET. The Bulldogs own the nation's longest current home winning streak at 34 straight and have won 19 straight games (including tournament-play) over WCC opponents (38-2 vs conference foes the last three years!). While St Mary's is just 3-5 in league play this year, all five of their losses have come by EIGHT points or less. Gonzaga, which won at St Mary's on Jan 7 68-60, is favored by 12 1/2 points with a total of 150.

Sunday's NBA saw the Rockets move to 12-6 with both Ming and McGrady in the lineup, as they beat the struggling Knicks, 93-89. However, when one or both are out, the Rockets are just 6-23, leaving the team eight games out of the final playoff spot in the West. The Clippers won 115-113 in OT at Toronto and have moved 11 games over .500 (28-17) for the first time since the franchise moved to LA!

In Sacramento, the Kings made 11-of-19 shots in the 4th quarter of their game with the Jazz, outscoring them 31-20 in the period, in a 96-78 win. That comes just two days after the Kings went 0-for-20 in FG attempts during Friday's night's 89-79 loss in Salt Lake City.

There are nine games in Monday's NBA, although none are on TV. The Nets will put their 10-game home winning streak (7-3 ATS) on the line against the New Orleans Hornets at 7:35 ET. The displaced Hornets are quite a story this year, going 15-8 in "home" games in Oklahoma City and Baton Rogue, while posting an overall record of 24-22.

The Hornets went just 18-64 last season, tying for the second-worst record in the league. The Nets are favored by 6 1/2 points with a total of 182 1/2. The Nuggets, losers of seven straight games ATS, visit the Warriors, winners of five straight ATS. Something's gotta give at 10:35 ET in Oakland, where Golden State is favored by 3 1/2 points (total is 199 1/2).

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

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