Ness Notes (January 24)

Unsurprisingly, Monday’s NBA games couldn’t match Sunday’s offensive explosion. Monday’s six-game card averaged 184.7 PPG, with the highest-scoring game of the night being Denver’s 107-101 victory over Toronto. That was woefully short of Seattle’s 152-149 double-overtime win over Phoenix, the NBA’s highest-scoring game in 11 years.

Tracy McGrady had a game-high 41 points in Houston’s 97-80 victory over Milwaukee, the best scoring effort of the night. Unfortunately, his 41 points left T-Mac just 40 points short of Kobe’s 81 on Sunday, the second-highest scoring outburst in NBA history!

My bye game for Tuesday is college hoops, Ohio over Akron at 7:00 ET. I’m on a 12-5-1 70.5% CBB streak since Jan 14 after last night’s win over Pitt. On Tuesday, I feature not one but TWO plays of 20* in college hoops. I’m also 15* in the NBA, looking to bounce back from Golden State’s total meltdown on Monday!

Tuesday night’s schedule sees the top two teams in the league in action. Detroit (33-5) is in Minnesota, where the Pistons are a five-point option with 175 total. The Spurs, who are tied with the Mavericks for the second-best record in the league, are at home against the Bobcats. San Antonio is 19-3 at home but only 9-13 ATS, while the Bobcats have the worst overall record in the league (11-30) and are 4-18 on the road but 14-7-1 ATS. The Spurs are favored by 15 with a total of 186 1/2.

Memphis is in Miami, a rematch of an Opening Night game (2/11) in which the Heat won in Memphis, 97-78. Miami is favored by 6 1/2 points with a total of 184. Phoenix is ​​in Orlando and this game offers a stark contrast. Both teams are coming off OT games in their last outings. However, while Orlando beat Sacramento on Saturday in overtime 83-78, Phoenix lost its overtime game in double overtime, by the score of 152-149! Phoenix, 11-4 SU and ATS since Christmas, is a 5 1/2-point favorite over Orlando (total is 209 1/2), which is riding a six-game home winning streak.

The college basketball schedule is headlined by two televised doubleheaders. On ESPN, it’s Kentucky at Auburn at 7:00 ET (Wildcats are 3 1/2-point favorites with a total of 127) and Indiana at Iowa at 9:00 ET (Hawkeyes are 2 1/2-point favorites). with a total of 129). On ESPNU at 7:00 ET, Georgetown, who just beat Duke on Saturday and is ranked in the top 25 (21) for the first time since 12/31/01, is at Notre Dame (the Irish are favored by two points with a total of 137 1/2). In Game 2 (9:00 ET), it’s Miami-Fla at Virginia (the Cavs are a 2 1/2-point option with a total of 129).

U Conn took over the No. 1 spot from Duke (he had been No. 1 since the preseason) in the latest AP poll. It is the sixth time the Huskies have been ranked No. 1 and the school’s longest tenure at the top was 10 weeks in 1998-99. Duke fell to No. 2, while former No. 2 Florida fell to No. 5. Memphis is No. 3 and Texas (which won its ninth straight last night 80-46 over Okla St) is No. 4. Pittsburgh, which joined Duke and Florida on Saturday in losing for the first time this year (but won 80-67 last night over Syracuse), fell from No. 9 to No. 12.

Super Bowl Update: It looks like all the seed money is in Pittsburgh, as ‘FOURS’ are showing up at many sportsbooks (in Las Vegas and abroad). The Steelers are the NINTH winner from outside the division to reach the Super Bowl. There have been seven previous wild card teams that have made it this far since the 1970 merger, in addition to the 1969 KC Chiefs.

The Chiefs finished second in the Western Division to the Oakland Raiders that season, but because the AFL (in the final year before the merger) wanted to match the NFL’s playoff structure (NFL had a four-division league while the AFL had only two divisions), the league made changes in the one-year playoffs. The division runners-up would meet the division winners from the opposite division (the winner from the East playing the runner-up from the West, and the winner from the West playing the runner-up from the East).

The Chiefs beat the Jets 13-6 in New York and then in the AFC title game they beat the Raiders (who had beaten the Chiefs BOTH times in the regular season and went 12-1-1! – against KCs 11-3!) at Oakland, 17-7. The Chiefs then defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV, 23-7!

FOUR of the previous eight ‘wild card’ Super Bowl teams (including KC in that group) have won the Super Bowl. The 1980 Raiders became the first “official” wild card team to do so when they beat the Eagles in Super Bowl XV, with the 1997 Broncos (beat Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII) and the 2000 Ravens (beat to the NY Giants in the Super Bowl). Bowl XXXV) joining the Chiefs and Raiders. If the 2005 Steelers want to join that group, they’ll have to do so as the first wild-card team to be FAVORITE (more NFL stuff tomorrow).

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