the source of revolution


Ness’s Notes (January 22)

And then there were none! Three Division I teams began Saturday undefeated, but by the end of the day, all three had lost. No. 1 Duke lost at Georgetown (87-84) and No. 2 Florida lost at Tennessee (80-76), both falling to 17-1. No. 9 Pittsburgh (now 15-1) lost at St. John’s, 55-50.

My free game for Sunday is varsity hoops, Xavier over St Louis at 7:00 ET. I’ll be playing BOTH NFL title games on Sunday, featuring a LEGEND play (14-3 in FB ’05!) in the Car/Sea game plus my first Las Vegas Insider play of the postseason in the Pit/Den. I will also be posting my first total of the postseason, my playoff total for the year of 20*! Regular visitors to the site will remember that I won my ONLY 28 bowl game season total at Tulsa/Fresno St ‘low’ (my 20* bowl total for the year!).

After a GREAT Saturday at BKB in which I won my 20* GOY of the Eastern Conference first half (NJ 103-83 over Boston), my 22* at CBB (Stanford over Arizona St), my 20* Sun Belt GOY (Troy St over Mid Tenn St) and ‘push’ with my last 15* (LSU), BE SURE to catch my BKB action for Sunday, available at 10:00 ET!

Pittsburgh was the first team to go down, playing at St John’s at 12:00 ET. The Panthers shot 7-of-26 from the floor in the first half and committed 12 turnovers. St John’s led 31-19 at the half and held on to win by five. Duke’s game at Georgetown began at 1:30 ET. Georgetown jumped out to a 42-28 lead at the half, as the Hoyas shot 67 percent. After opening up a 16-point lead early in the second half, the Hoyas withstood a furious rally from Duke as the Blue Devils had a chance to tie on their final possession.

Georgetown’s 87-84 win was accomplished via a barrage of back layups (a Princeton tradition) and dogged, old-fashioned defense (an old John Thompson-era Hoya tradition). John Thompson III, Thompson’s son and Princeton graduate (and former head coach), ends Georgetown’s nine-game losing streak against ranked opponents and marks the school’s first victory over a No. 1-ranked team since February 27, 1985. Duke’s JJ Redick matched his career-high 41 points in the game, but Duke’s other All-American, Shelden Williams, scored only four points.

Florida took court in Tennessee knowing that Duke and Pitt had already lost. The Gators, who were unranked in preseason, were looking for the No. 1 seed Monday with a win. The Gators led by six at the half, but couldn’t hold. The game was close for the final 10 minutes and was tied at 76, with 45 seconds remaining.

To cap off a BIG day in college basketball, Savannah St beat Longwood, 70-69. The Tigers won on a basket with five seconds remaining and the win is significant because it marks the school’s first in a Division I program since January 22, 2003! You read well! Savannah St became the second school in the past half century to go winless last year (0-28) and two years ago went 4-24 but had to forfeit all four wins for using an ineligible player. Savannah St opened this year with a win over Wilberforce (an NAIA school) but had lost 18 in a row before Saturday! Longwood, by the way, is 3-16.

Sunday’s CBB schedule features just nine games, none on national television. However, ABC begins its television coverage of the NBA on Sunday. The 76ers are in Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves (Minnesota is a six-point favorite with 190 total) and the Nuggets are in San Antonio to take on the Spurs (SA is a seven-point pick with 190 total).

To this day, the Pistons are clearly the best team in the league, having opened with an NBA-best 32-5 mark. The fast start is the best in franchise history and includes two DOMINANT wins over the SA Spurs, who beat the Pistons in seven games during last year’s NBA Finals. The Pistons are seemingly unmatched in the East, unless the Heat start playing much better than they currently do.

While the Spurs have matched their 31-9 start last year, tying a franchise record for best start in 40 games, Manu Ginobili hurt his ankle (AGAIN!) in Friday’s win over the Heat. With Ginobili expected to be out for a while, the Spurs could struggle to stay ahead of Dallas (30-10) and maybe even Phoenix (26-13) for the best record in the West. We’ll see?

AFC Championship Game

The Steelers face the Broncos in Denver at 3:00 ET. The Broncos are favored by three points and the total is 41. Pittsburgh has won six straight games (5-1 ATS) and will try to become the first No. 6 seed (since 1990) to advance to the Super Bowl. The Steelers have won in Cincinnati and Indianapolis so far and could join the 1985 New England Patriots as the only teams to win three straight road games in the same postseason.

Pittsburgh is 15-3 on the road since the start of the 2004 season (including the postseason) and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is 14-1 SU and 12-3 ATS as a road starter. Big Ben is the first quarterback since the merger that has led his team to a conference championship game in his first two seasons. After a poor performance in the postseason last year (3 TDP / 5 INT / 61.3 QB rating), he has been outstanding this year (5 TDP / 1 INT / 124.7 rating).

Historically, the Broncos have been a great home team and are 6-1 all-time in AFC title games, including 4-0 in Denver. Shanahan won two Super Bowl titles (’97 and ’98 seasons), beating Cowher and the Steelers in Pittsburgh 24-21 in 1997, in the AFC title game. Cowher is 1-4 in five previous AFC title games, and all five have been played in Pittsburgh.

In Plummer’s three years in Denver, the Broncos are 21-4 SU at home, but just 12-11-2 ATS! They come into this game as one of two teams that have gone 8-0 at home during this year’s regular season and, including last Saturday’s win over the Patriots, have won 11 straight home games.

NFC Championship Game

The Panthers visit the Seahawks at 6:30 ET, where Seattle is favored by 3 1/2 points on 43 1/2 total. Carolina, like Pittsburgh, is trying to win its third straight road playoff game this postseason and will, in fact, be playing its fourth straight road game (won at Atlanta in Week 17). Also like Pittsburgh, Carolina has been a formidable road team.

The Panthers have tied an NFL record with FOUR straight road playoff wins (2003 and 2005 postseasons) and quarterback Jake Delhomme is 5-1 as a playoff starter (10 TDP / 2 INT / 108.4 QB rating). Four of those wins have come on the road, tying Delhomme with Hall of Famers Len Dawson and Roger Staubach for the most road wins in postseason history. Going back to the 2003 season, Carolina is a remarkable 17-2 ATS as an underdog!

Seattle, in just its second championship game in its 30-year history (this is Carolina’s third championship game in its 11-year history!), is like Denver, unbeaten at home this year. The Seahawks are now 9-0 SU after beating Washington, going 7-2 ATS. Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is making just his fourth career playoff start (1-2) and Shaun Alexander, the league’s 2005 MVP, is expected to be fine after leaving last week’s game with a concussion (note: Alexander has averaged just 2.3 YPC in three previous playoff games!).

The Seahawks’ win over Washington last week ended a 21-year playoff drought and gave Mike Holmgren his first win in four playoff games with Seattle. Of course, Holmgren won a Super Bowl with the Packers after the 1996 season and lost in the Super Bowl to the Broncos the following season.


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