The Nets have sent some shockwaves through the NBA the past two nights. They beat the Pistons in Detroit on Sunday night (79-74) and last night they beat the Suns at the Meadowlands, 110-72! It was the ninth straight win for New Jersey (7-1-1 ATS), the longest active streak in the NBA.
For the Suns, the highest-scoring team in the league, it was their lowest production of the season (the previous low was 85) and the team’s 26.8 percent from the floor was the franchise-low in a single game. .
My free play tonight is against the SA Spurs against the LA Clippers at 10:35 ET. In tonight’s college hoops, I’m looking to continue my red-hot tournament streak (7-1 Thursday-Sunday) with my 20* NIT Game of the Year and another Las Vegas Insider exclusive game (5-0 streak and 80% in tournaments to date). In the NBA, that’s a rare 22* play (my second in 60 days!) as I look to continue my 4-1 record with 20* NBA snaps or more.
In other games, Miami beat Indiana, Utah beat New Orleans, and Washington beat Golden State. In the East, Washington (5) is 36-33, Indiana (6) is 35-34 and Milwaukee (7) is 35-35. In the West, the Jazz (33-37) are now a half-game ahead of the Hornets (32-37), who have lost 12 of 13 SU and ATS, but still two games behind the Kings (35-35) by the final playoff spot.
Tonight’s NBA features a seven-game schedule with the top three teams in the league in action. The Mavs (54-16) are in Detroit to face the Pistons (55-14) at 7:35 ET and the Spurs (54-16) are in Los Angeles to face the Clippers at 10:35 ET.
Detroit is on a losing streak of points in its last 13 games (2-9-2 ATS), while the Mavs, 32-8 since Jan. 1, are struggling with some injury issues (both Howard and Harris remain out). ) and have struggled against the best teams in the league since March 1 (1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS). Detroit is favored by 5 1/2 points (179).
In Los Angeles, the Spurs will try to keep up with (or surpass) the Mavs with a win over the Clippers, who are looking for their 42nd win of the year, a win that would guarantee the franchise’s first winning season since 1991-92. Parker is questionable for SA with a foot injury and Bowen could be suspended for kicking Ray Allen in the back last night. SA is favored by 1/12 points (187).
In other action, the Suns will try to bounce back from last night’s disaster (Stoudemire played 15 minutes and didn’t score!) in Milwaukee against the Bucks. The Grizzlies put their seven-game winning streak (the second longest behind the Nets) on the line at home against the Sonics and the Wizards are in Sacramento to take on the Kings, who saw their 14-game home winning streak end on Sunday for the Warriors (they had been 11-0 SU and 10-1 ATS at home with Artest!).
There are still four days to go until the NCAA Final 4, but the NIT plays its version tonight. Old Dominion faces Michigan in the first game (7:00 ET) and South Carolina faces Louisville in the second game (expected forecast around 9:20 ET). Both games will be televised on ESPN2. The ODU/Michigan game is listed as a ‘pick’ with a total of 136 and South Carolina is a two-point favorite over Louisville (124 1/2).
Of course, Old Dominion represents the CAA, giving the main conference Final 4 teams in both the NIT and NCAA! Michigan won the NIT title in 2004 and is riding an eight-game postseason winning streak going into tonight’s contest. South Carolina is the defending NIT champion and is also riding an eight-game postseason winning streak, while Louisville is in its second straight Final 4 (it was part of last year’s NCAA Final 4), though Not where I expected to be. .
Speaking of Final Fours, it’s worth noting that this year’s NCAA Final 4 will be without schools from the ACC, Big East, Big-10 and Big-12 (includes Big-8 and SWC) for the first time since 1975! If you combine the eight teams still playing (NIT and NCAA), you’ll find that the SEC has three representatives and the CAA has two.
The Big East, Big-10, and Pac-10 each have one, and representatives from the Big East and Big-10 appear in the NIT Final 4, not the NCAA! The Big East had a record eight teams invited to the Big Dance this year, including two No. 1 seeds (U Conn and Villanova). While four of their schools made it to the Sweet 16, none made it to the Final 4. As for the six Big-10 NCAA tournament teams, none made it past the opening weekend of the tournament, for the first time since 1996.
So much for polls
UCLA is the only school in this year’s preseason AP top-25 poll to make it to the Final 4. Here’s something else to consider. The final AP poll had Duke No. 1, U Conn No. 2 and Villanova No. 3. You think those writers don’t know what they’re doing! Well, those three teams combined to go 1-10 ATS in their tournament games. Remember this the next time you hear complaints about “computer geeks” having too much influence when it comes to RPI (college hoops) or BCS (college football)!
Just one last thing. Don’t think it was only the top three teams that had bad ATS in the tournament. The top 15 teams in the nation in the final AP poll have combined to go just 18-24 ATS in the tournament thus far. Taking a closer look shows four of the top 15 schools (BC, Florida, Gonzaga and Memphis) with a combined score of 12-2 and the remaining 11 schools with a pathetic 6-22.
UCLA (tied for No. 7) and Florida (No. 11) are the only members in the top 15 to reach the Final 4. LSU finished 17th in the final poll and George Mason was unranked.
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