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Friday, Feb 10

   by Larry Ness - 02/10/2006

No. 9 West Va lost at No. 14 Pitt Thursday night, 57-53. It was the 169th meeting between the two long-time rivals but the first meeting in which both were ranked! The Mountaineers shot just 34% from the floor, including just 6-of-27 on threes!

It was West Va's first Big East loss of the year, dropping the number of remaining conference unbeatens to just SIX, heading into the weekend. In the only other game involving two ranked opponents last night, No. 19 Ohio State won in Ann Arbor over No. 22 Michigan, 94-85!

My free play for Friday is the Denver Nuggets over the Dallas Mavericks at 10:30 ET. My easy win on the Kings last night gives me a 4-1 80% run in the NBA the last seven days. Friday, I'm featuring two STRONG 10* plays in NBA action. Don't miss my Eastern Conference Game of the Month or my Western Conference Total of the Month.

Three other top-25 teams were in action on Thursday and all three won. While No. 13 UCLA scored just 50 points, the Bruins still won by 20! UCLA's 50-30 win at Washington State was its 13th straight win in Pullman and the Bruins' 25th win in their last 26 meetings with the Cougars.

No. 15 Georgetown easily won at home over St John's (64-41) and No. 21 Washington beat USC up in Seattle, 87-73. Checking in on one of just FIVE schools still winless in conference play, St Bonaventure lost its 11th straight game (tying a school record), 81-70 at home to Fordham. That drops them to 0-10 this year in the A-10.

College basketball features just four games tonight, all in the Ivy League. Penn, 4-0 in the Ivy and one of just SIX remaining conference unbeatens in Division I, will be at 3-15 Dartmouth tonight at 7:00 ET. The Quakers are favored by 14 with a total of 124 1/2.

As always the weekend is full of college basketball action with at least a dozen nationally televised games. There are four games this weekend featuring top-25 opponents. No. 13 UCLA is at No. 21 Washington and No. 18 Iowa is at No. 24 Indiana, both on Saturday. On Sunday, it's No. 9 West Va at No. 15 Georgetown and No. 10 Illinois at No. 19 Ohio State.

The Mavericks crushed the Heat last night 112-76 and the Kings handled the Bulls 98-80, making last night's TNT doubleheader very boring. The victory extended Dallas' winning streak to an NBA season-high, 13 games (11-2 ATS). The Mavs have held all 13 opponents to less than 100 points, allowing an average of just 86.5 PPG during the streak.

As for the Kings, they have now won seven straight games at home, including a home mark of 4-0 SU and ATS since acquiring Artest. Also of note should be that in the seven games Artest has played for Sacramento, the Kings have allowed opponents to shoot just 41 percent. That compares to the 46 percent the team allowed pre-Artest.

Friday night's 12-game NBA schedule is highlighted by an ESPN doubleheader. The first game is the San Antonio Spurs at the New Jersey Nets (8:00 ET). The Nets will be putting their 12-game (9-3 ATS) home winning streak on the line against the Spurs, a team that's gone 11-1 since losing to the Pistons back on January 12. However, Tim Duncan missed San Antonio's last game with the flu and is listed a questionable. The Spurs are favored by 2 1/2 points with a total of 179.

In the nightcap, Dallas puts its 13-game winning streak on the line in Denver against the Nuggets (10:30 ET). Talk about opposites! While Dallas enters as the league's hottest team, Denver has lost six of its previous seven games and enters tonight on a NINE-game ATS losing streak. That being said, these two teams have played two very close games this year. The Mavs have edged the Nuggets in Dallas, 83-80 and 114-112 in OT, in Denver. Dallas is favored by four points with a total of 201.

Checking in on some other games, sees the Celtics hosting the Trailblazers at 7:35 ET. Boston won its first game after its seven-player trade with Minnesota but has since gone 0-6 SU and ATS. Meanwhile, Portland enters this game an impressive 9-3-1 ATS its last 13 games. Boston is favored by 5 1/2 points with a total of 184 1/2.

The Knicks will try to snap a seven-game losing streak in Okla City versus the Hornets at 8:05 ET. The Knicks have lost 13 of 14 overall (3-11 ATS), while the Hornets have fared very well this year in "home games", going 16-8 SU and 14-9-1 ATS. The Hornets are favored by six points with a total of 186 1/2. Lastly, the Charlotte Bobcats have won a franchise-high three straight games and they'll host the Raptors at 7:35 ET, a team that's a super 16-7-1 ATS, on the road. Toronto is favored by two points with a total of 210.

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

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