Ness Notes (January 26)

The biggest news to come out of last night’s hectic 12-game NBA schedule was that yes, Ron Artest would be leaving for the Sacramento Kings for Peja Stojakovic. We hope the Maloof brothers don’t get rid of The Palms Hotel any time soon!

As for short action, the Pistons needed overtime, but their 106-102 win over the Bucks gives them a 35-5 record, making it the fourth-best 40-game start in NBA history. .

My bye Thursday is South Alabama over Denver at 9:00 ET. Another 2-1 night at CBB on Wednesday and my college career has gone 16-6-1, since Jan 14! Even more impressive, my CBB 15* plays have been cashed out at a rate of 77.8% since January 1st, after winning my first total CBB play of the season.

My 15* game at DePaul/Marq ‘low’ on Wednesday, ‘covered’ by OVER 30 points! Don’t miss my 15* CBB Underdog Shocker tonight, my ONLY play on a busy 36 game CBB ‘board’!

Thursday night’s NBA card has just three games on TNT with a doubleheader. The Phoenix Suns are in Miami to take on the Heat at 8:05 ET. The Suns beat the Heat 11-93 in Phoenix on January 6, scoring 47 points in the first quarter! Shaq was limited to a season-low eight points in that contest and these days, he must feel like he’s still playing for the Lakers. Tonight’s game marks Miami’s 12th straight competition against a Western opponent. Miami is 7-4 SU and ATS in the top 11. The Heat are favored by 5 1/2 points tonight with a total of 211 1/2.

Late in the game (10:35 ET), the Mavericks, owners of the third-best record in the league at 32-10, visit Seattle to take on the Sonics. Dallas is 17-6 on the road (tying Detroit for the most road wins of any team) but just 10-11-2 ATS. Seattle has won consecutive games for the first time since Bob Hill took over as head coach (4-7 overall), but enters just 14-27 after last year’s 52-win season. Dallas is favored by 5 1/2 points with a total of 210 1/2.

No. 9 West Va entered the AP poll at No. 9 on Monday, the school’s first visit to the top 10 in 24 years. The Mountaineers’ stay will not last long, since last night they were defeated at home (58-52), by a Marshall team that entered the game with a 7-9 record. The loss ended West Va’s 12-game winning streak, which was the longest in the country.

Illinois easily beat Minnesota last night 77-53 and captured its 32nd straight win at home (a new school record). Gonzaga also has 32-game winning streak at home, but both top-10 schools trail Southern Illinois, which owns the longest home winning streak in the country at 33-game winning streak.

For those of you who haven’t gotten the final scores, two Mountain West Conference schools are noteworthy. Air Force, a school under its THIRD coaching in three seasons, opened 17-3 after beating UNLV (52-50) last night.

Former Nugget head coach Jeff Bzdelik has done a great job. Especially when you consider last year’s MWC co-player of the year (6-10 center Nick Welch), he was lost to injury before the start of the season. Last night, the Falcons overcame an 11-point deficit in the first half and finished the game with a final run of 14-5!

Everyone remembers Steve Fisher’s dramatic run to the national title with Michigan in 1989. Well, these days, Fisher is living the good life in San Diego. However, in his seventh year at San Diego State, Fisher has the Aztecs off to his best start (13-6) in more than 20 years and his best conference start (6-1) in more than 20 years. 30 years

The Aztecs beat New Mexico last night 75-69 (a lack of coverage that hurt me!) but Fisher’s team deserves congratulations on their great start. With guard Brandon Heath (17.9 PPG) and forward Marcus Slaughter (16.6-10.6 RPG), the Aztecs possess the most dynamic inside-outside combination in the league.

Tonight at 7:00 ET on ESPN, No. 2 Duke is playing his first game since losing to Georgetown on Sunday (ending a 17-0 start). The nation’s remaining three undefeated lost last Saturday and Duke will try to match the effort of Pittsburgh, which beat Syracuse 80-67 on Monday, not Florida, which lost last night in South Carolina 68-62, when the Blue Devils They visit Blacksburg.

Duke ran away against Va Tech in their first meeting against the Hokies (12/4), winning 75-74 on Sean Dockery’s 40-footer at the buzzer. Va Tech enters this game 0-5 in the ACC, but all five losses have come by just a combined 25 points. Duke is favored by 11 points and the total is 141.

The only other game on national television tonight on the 36-game college basketball schedule is a Sun Belt game, La-Lafayette at Western Kentucky. At 9:00 ET on ESPN2, the Hilltoppers, 13-5, including a league-best 5-1 conference record, host the Rajun ‘Cajuns, who are just 5-12 and own the worst record conference call of any of the Sun Belt 11. teams (1-5). Western Ky is favored by 11 points with a total of 142 1/2.

In a game not televised but NOT to be missed, No. 3 Memphis hosts UAB 14-3 at 8:00 ET. The Tigers are off to the second-best start in school history, but they’re actually looking up the Blazers in the C-USA standings. UAB is 4-0 in the league, while Memphis is 3-0. With West Va’s loss last night, UAB’s 10-game winning streak is the longest in the country. Memphis is a 10-point favorite with a total of 154.

Ness notes are available Monday through Friday at 1:00 ET. Due to travel plans, my coverage of the NFL will begin next Monday.

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