Ness’s Notes (February 1)

The Nets proved last night that the Pistons can be beaten, as New Jersey ended Detroit’s 11-game winning streak with a 91-84 victory at Meadowlands. It marked New Jersey’s NINTH consecutive home win, but the Nets are back tonight in Cleveland, one of 13 games on a tight NBA schedule.

New Jersey owns five straight wins over Cleveland (two this year), but has lost its last five road games (0-5 ATS), while the Cavs enter a six-game winning streak (5-0-1 ATS) , in which LeBron has averaged 36 PPG. Cleveland is favored by 6 1/2 points with a total of 187 1/2 (7:05 ET).

My free game on Wednesday is at the university. Take Kentucky onto Miss St at 8:00 ET. I have a HUGE Wednesday! At CBB, I have two 20 * GOY (MWC / C-USA) plays and a Triple 10 * Game of the Month Report. In the NBA, it’s just my second LEGEND Play of the season (won first place)! Get it all and pay only AFTER you win!

Other notable games in the NBA tonight are Minnesota in Detroit (7:35 ET), Atlanta in Charlotte (7:35 ET) and Dallas in Memphis (8:05 ET). Flip Saunders won on their return to Minnesota at 1/24 (107-83) but the T-wolves are 12-4 against the Pistons since the start of the 1997-98 season. Detroit’s loss ended an 11-game winning streak, only the team’s SIXth loss this year. How have the Pistons fared after their first five losses? Very good, thank you, winning by an average of 12.8 points per game. Detroit is favored by 8 1/2 points with a total of 184 1/2.

Charlotte tries to end the league’s longest current losing streak (12 in a row), when the Bobcats host the Hawks. The Bobcats are missing top scorer Gerald Wallace and last season’s rookie of the year (Okafor) and have averaged just 89.5 points per game during their losing streak. The good news is that Atlanta is just 3-17 on the road this season. Atlanta is favored by 1 1/2 points with a total of 200 1/2.

With Detroit’s loss, Dallas now owns the league’s longest winning streak with nine in a row. The Mavs have kept all nine opponents to less than 100 points on the streak, but tonight they face the best defensive team in the league in Memphis. The Grizzlies allow only 87.1 points per game, compared to Dallas’ average of 93.7 points per game. The Mavs, 18-6 on the road this year, are favored by 1 1/2 points with a total of 180 1/2.

As mentioned yesterday, Northern Iowa (ranked 25th) ranked for the first time in its 106-year history. That standings won’t last long though, as the Panthers lost 63-55 last night to Creighton (10th straight loss in Omaha to the Blue Jays). Another Panther team, Pitt, lost at No. 1 U Conn, 80-76. While Panther punters ‘covered’, Pitt has never beaten a No. 1 ranked team in its 100-year history (0-13).

There are 43 games on the college ‘board’ tonight, highlighted by double titles on both ESPN and ESPN2. Additionally, southern Illinois, tied with Illinois and Gonzaga for the longest home winning streak in the country (33), will host an Indiana State team at 8:00 ET, which has lost 11 games in a row (Salukis is favorite by 16 points with a total of 114).

No. 11 West Va will host Notre Dame at 7:00 ET on ESPN. Notre Dame opened 1-6 at the Big East, its worst start since joining the conference in 1995-96. However, the Irish have beaten the Mountaineers 11 times in a row! West Va, the Big East’s only undefeated team in conference play (6-0), will attempt to beat Notre Dame for the first time since 1999. West Va is favored by 7 1/2 points with a total of 143. A 9:00 ET, it’s Duke’s No. 2 at No. 15 Boston College. BC started 0-3 in its first year in the ACC, but has won four games in a row. Duke is favored by 5 1/2 points with a total of 150.

ESPN2 opens with No. 23 Iowa at Purdue (7:00 ET) and continues with No. 7 Texas at Missouri (9:00 ET). Purdue is just 1-7 in the Big-10 (last place) and has lost 13 straight games to ranked opponents. Iowa is an eight-point favorite with a total of 125. Texas, which saw its nine-game winning streak halted by Oklahoma on Saturday, faces a Missouri team that has lost three straight games, all by double digits. Texas is favored by 11 1/2 points with a total of 135 1/2.

Super XL update … First we had a controversy over the color of the jersey the Steelers would wear, now it’s Texas A&M filing a restraining order against the Seahawks for their “12th man” marketing campaign. Do you think maybe two weeks is too long between the conference title games and the “main event”?

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

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