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Monday (Feb 27)
by Larry Ness - 02/27/2006
All 26 of the nation's top-25 teams (Northern Iowa and Nevada were tied for 25th) were in action over the weekend with eight losing, four to unranked opponents. No. 10 Tennessee lost at home to Arkansas, No. 12 Florida lost at Alabama, No. 18 Michigan State lost at Indiana and No. 25 Northern Iowa lost at Southern Illinois.
No. 2 Villanova lost 89-75 at No. 3 U Conn in the game of the weekend yesterday, joining No. 15 NC State which lost at home to No. 11 Boston College, No. 16 Kansas which lost at No. 7 Texas and No. 22 Iowa which lost at No. 8 Illinois, as teams falling to ranked opponents.
My free play for Monday is the Dal Mavericks over the Phi 76ers in tonight's NBA at 8:35 ET. Speaking of the NBA, I look to continue my 71% ATS run over my last 25 plays (since Feb 3) tonight, with my BIGGEST and BADDEST 'dog' of the season, my 20* NBA Underdog GOY. In college hoops, I'm following a 2-0 Sunday sweep (now four straight winning days in CBB and a 5-1-1 single-game record since Thursday) with my 15* TV winner. Join me tonight in the winner's circle!
Five schools entered the weekend still unbeaten in conference play and all four which played a league game won. Bucknell beat Army 70-47, completing the Patriot League's first-ever unbeaten season at 14-0. No. 6 George Washington won its 16th straight game (extending the nation's longest winning streak) by beating Fordham, 78-67 and moved to 14-0 in the A-10. No. 4 Memphis ended its game with Tulsa on an 18-3 run, winning by an identical 78-67 score for its 15th straight win, while moving to 12-0 in C-USA.
The nation's top-two scorers, Adam Morrison of Gonzaga and JJ Redick of Duke, were each held to just 11 points on Saturday but both No. 5 Gonzaga and No. 1 Duke still won. Gonzaga beat San Diego 75-59 for its 37th straight home win (longest current streak), its 15th straight win overall and its 22nd straight win in the WCC (13-0 this year). Duke, 14-0 in the ACC, won a non-conference game in Philadelphia over Temple (74-66) and while Redick's 11 points were his lowest output of the season, he did become the ACC's all-time career scoring leader, passing Wake's Dickie Hemric by three points.
The Citadel's 15th conference game was a 'charm' on Saturday, as the Bulldogs avoided the Southern Conference's first winless season since Davidson did it in 1960, with an 84-80 OT win at Wofford. However, South Florida of the Big East lost on Sunday at Rutgers 62-44, extending the Bulls' school-record losing streak to 16 consecutive games and dropping them to 0-14 in league play. South Florida is now the only school still winless in conference play and will have to beat either U Conn or Georgetown (at least both games are at home) this week to avoid an 0-16 Big East finish.
Tonight's college basketball card features 11 games, three televised by ESPN. No. 9 Pittsburgh is at No. 14 West Va at 7:00 ET. Pitt handed West Va its first conference loss of the season back on Feb 9 (57-53). In that game, West Va's Kevin Pittsnogle was 0-for-12 from the floor. West Va has gone just 2-4 since its 8-0 Big East start and both Pitt and West Va enter this game at 10-4 in conference play, trailing Big East co-leaders U Conn and Villanova (12-2). West Va is favored by 3 1/2 points with a total of 133 1/2.
No. 22 Oklahoma hosts Oklahoma State at 9:00 ET and the Sooners enter off three consecutive one-point wins. Oklahoma is 27-2 at home the last two seasons and 86-7 at home since the beginning of 2000-01. Oklahoma is favored by eight points with a total of 131 1/2. The final game on ESPN tonight is at 12:00 midnight ET, as Boise State visits Fresno State. The Bulldogs are favored by seven points (148).
No. 5 Gonzaga is not on TV but will try to extend the nation's longest current home winning streak, as well as claiming its second perfect conference mark in the last three seasons, when the Bulldogs host San Francisco at 9:00 ET. In winning six straight regular season WCC titles these last six years, Gonzaga is 77-6 in league play, including 41-1 at home. The Bulldogs have won 16 straight at home over San Francisco (last lost in 1989) and are favored tonight by 16 points (150).
The NBA's "Big Three" (Detroit, Dallas and San Antonio) are all in action tonight, as the NBA week opens with a busy 11-game schedule. The 46-9 Pistons beat the Cavs Sunday (90-78) but will have to do it again tonight, this time in Cleveland (7:05 ET). Interestingly, the Cavs are just 6-5 at home vs sub-.500 teams but 14-3 against teams with winning records. That includes a perfect 4-0 mark against Detroit, Miami, Phoenix and San Antonio (Cavs have yet to host Dallas), in which LeBron has averaged 39.8 PPG. Deja vu? The Pistons are favored by three points with a total of 182.
The Mavericks, owners of the league's second-best record at 44-11, will host the 76ers at 8:35 ET. The Mavs have won a club-record 14 straight games at home and 18 of 19, overall. However, in Dallas' last two home games, the Mavs have trailed by 19 in the second quarter to Memphis on Thursday before winning by 10 and by 24 points in the third quarter on Saturday to Toronto, before winning 115-113 in OT. Way back on Nov 19, the 76ers beat the Mavs in Philly, 112-97. Dallas is favored by 10 1/2 points (201 1/2).
The Spurs are just one game behind the Mavs in the Southwest Division (43-12) but it's a BIG game. The team that wins the division will get the West's No. 1 seed, while the second-place finisher, despite owning the conference's second-best record, will get only the No. 4 seed! San Antonio hosts the New York Knicks at 8:35 ET, a team that's lost 19 of 21 (6-15 ATS). The Spurs are favored by 15 1/2 points with a total of 182 1/2.
Ness Notes is available by 1:00 ET Monday through Friday. A feature story runs Saturday and Sunday.