Betting News and Notes - Jan 10

Betting News and Notes - Jan 10

Thursday Throwdown
By Josh Jacobs

Skipping the usual introduction to TNT’s Thursday night in the NBA, let’s get right down to which two teams in the double-header might be the play to profit on. The first game begins in San Antonio at 8:00 p.m. EST. The Pistons will continue their four-game road trip from the Lone Star State back to the East Coast.

Detroit at San Antonio

Coming off an explosive offensive loss in overtime against Golden State (130-121), San Antonio is looking to rally the troops. Manu Ginobili is back in the starting rotation after missing five games from a sprained left index finger. His 19.4 PPG and 4.2 APG was a tough void to fill.

Total players listen up. Taking a peak at a combined score of 180 to 184 points, Detroit has zeroed in nicely with a 69% success rate. And in the squads last 10, the total has been adjusted by most books four times within this scoring range.

Even more intriguing is the low totals that have been established between both teams in head-to-head matchups. The last 10 contests (dating back to the 2005 NBA Finals) have never seen the total set higher then 184. In the last five battles fought on the hardwood, the ‘under’ has seen financial gains cash four times.

Statistically speaking, both squads are near identical in terms of offensive and defensive production. Numbers such as the Spurs’ 98.5 PPG versus the Pistons’ 99.6 PPG and a separation of .8 percent from the field indicate a razor thin difference when looking to put the ball in the net.

On defense things don’t look much different. The very close edge must be handed to Detroit, holding opponents to 3.2 PPG lower then what the Spurs have been able to accomplish.

One area that does stand out in favor of San Antonio is in the paint scoring. In that loss to Golden State on Monday, the team that calls the AT&T Center home ripped through the paint for 50 points. And in last Sunday’s victory over the L.A. Clippers (88-82), the Spurs continued its post up and pick and role game with 42 points registered from the inside (in the paint).

Before its tangle with Dallas on Wednesday, the Pistons fell short of reaching 13 straight wins. The loss against Boston derailed that hope.

Phoenix at Utah

Wrapping up Thursday night’s action will be a 10:30 p.m. EST ballgame between the Suns and Jazz.

Phoenix pulled out a close 103-98 victory on Dec. 12 in its first head-to-head meeting. Utah was able to cover the 7½-point spread, but a 225½ total was just too much for the ‘over’.

Having hit 190-194 total points in contests this season, the Suns have an explosive 100% success rate. Even at 205-209 (having scored at least 205 points in any given contests – between the Suns and its opponent), Phoenix has managed to stay above the water with a 54% mark. Of course 110.1 PPG is a major catalyst for high scoring games, coupled with a defense giving up 104.2 PPG.

The Suns Amare Stoudemire, Leandro Barbosa and Steve Nash have been the big three for this team. Combined, these stars have shelled out 55.9 PPG. Nash continues his freakish style of play, with 16.9 PPG and 12.2 APG.

Utah has been dominant ATS at home this season. Playing only six games versus teams with a winning record (over .500), the Jazz are 4-1-1 ATS in those six.

Ending a six-game slide of a nightmare on Dec. 15, Utah was as putrid as a talented team could be. With a 6-6 SU and 5-7 ATS record since that fateful run, the Jazz have sacrificed 100.3 PPG in those 12 contests. At least backers of Utah can be positive about one angle in favor of the spread. The Jazz are 18-7-1 in their last 26 home games.

As one to three point road favorites, Phoenix has gone 1-1 ATS. When favored by 3½ to six, the Suns are 2-2 ATS.

While there’s always expectations of injuries to key players on every squad, Utah’s Andrei Kirilenko’s health from season-to-season is becoming a guaranteed occurrence. Latest news coming out of Jazz headquarters is that Kirilenko is ‘questionable’ for Thursday’s contest with a back injury. He has not played or practiced since Jan 3.

Showing up nightly with scoring precision, Utah’s Carlos Boozer has is averaging 23.4 PPG, while boxing out for 11.1 RPG. However, only one 30-point showing in December (sounds a little selfish) outlines a stark contrast to the six 30-point games in November (the team was 4-2 in November when Boozer touched 30 or more points).

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Chucky Atkins expected to have surgery for sports hernia
January 9, 2008

DENVER (AP) -Nuggets guard Chucky Atkins was expected to have surgery sometime next week to repair a sports hernia that has bothered him since the preseason.

The Nuggets said a timeline for his return won't be known until after the operation.

Atkins, who signed a two-free free agent contract with Denver last summer, has averaged 4.0 points in nine games for the Nuggets this season. He missed the first 24 games with a severely strained right groin he suffered in a preseason game at Phoenix on Oct. 25.

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Suns forward Grant Hill undergoes appendectomy, out 2-3 weeks
January 9, 2008

PHOENIX (AP) -Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill underwent an appendectomy on Wednesday and is expected to be sidelined for two to three weeks.

Hill felt ill after arriving at the US Airways Center for Wednesday morning's shootaround. At first, the Suns assumed he had the same flu that teammate Raja Bell recently had. But after being taken to see a physician, it was determined to be more serious.

His appendix was removed Wednesday afternoon at a nearby hospital.

Hill signed a two-year deal with the Suns in July and hoped to overcome seven injury-plagued years in Orlando, where he played in about a third of the Magic's regular-season games.

He's been injury free since coming to Phoenix, starting all 34 regular season games and averaging 15.9 points.

It was the most early season play for the 35-year-old since he started the first 39 games for the Detroit Pistons in the 1999-2000 season.

Boris Diaw took Hill's' spot in the lineup for Wednesday night's game against the Indiana Pacers.

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Rockets' McGrady to be checked Thursday
January 8, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) -Tracy McGrady will be checked out by the Houston Rockets' medical staff Thursday to determine when he'll be able to return from his left knee injury.

``We certainly are missing him,'' Rockets coach Rick Adelman said before Tuesday night's game at the Washington Wizards. ``But it's important that he's healthy when he does start playing.''

McGrady, sidelined by strained tendons, tendinitis and a bone bruise in his left knee, last played Dec. 23. He's the Rockets' leading scorer at 22.8 points per game.

``I'd love to see him come back on Friday, but it's really going to be up to the medical people and Tracy as far as how he works out, how he feels before we get him back on the floor,'' Adelman said.

Once McGrady does return, his time on the court will have to be monitored.

``He's not going to be able to play a full quarter in a row or anything like that,'' Adelman said. ``We'll have to get him in and out and see how this thing responds.''

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Detroit Pistons vs. San Antonio Spurs

- The Detroit Pistons and the San Antonio Spurs will both be gunning for a victory on Thursday when they meet at AT&T Center.

The Pistons were crushed 102-86 by the Mavericks last time out, as 2.5-point road underdogs. The 188 points fell UNDER the posted total of 189.

Richard Hamilton tossed in 18 points, while Chauncey Billups added 16 in the loss.

San Antonio were defeated 130-121 by Golden State last time out, as 2-point underdogs. The 251 points sailed OVER the posted total of 204.5.

Tim Duncan had 32 points for the Sours and Tony Parker netted 31 in a losing effort.

Current streak:
Detroit has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Detroit: 26-9 SU, 23-11-1 ATS
San Antonio: 23-10 SU, 17-16 ATS

Detroit most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 8-2
Before playing Charlotte are 7-3
After playing Dallas are 9-1
After a loss are 6-4

San Antonio most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 7-3
Before playing Minnesota are 7-3
After playing Golden State are 6-4
After a loss are 8-2

A few trends to consider:
Detroit is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games
Detroit is 11-2 ATS in its last 13 games
Detroit is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games on the road
Detroit is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
San Antonio is 23-2 SU in its last 25 games at home
San Antonio is 12-2 SU in its last 14 games when playing at home against Detroit
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of San Antonio's last 5 games when playing Detroit
San Antonio is 18-7 ATS in its last 25 games at home

Next up:
Detroit at Charlotte, Saturday, January 12
San Antonio home to Minnesota, Saturday, January 12

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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Sacramento Kings

- The Memphis Grizzlies and the Sacramento Kings will both be trying to pick up a win on Thursday when they battle at ARCO Arena.

Mike Miller netted 19 points, pulled down eight rebounds, and dished out six assists for the Grizzlies in their 117-101 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.

The Lakers covered as 6-point road favorites as the game played over the 215.5-point total listed by oddsmakers.

The Kings had to pull out all the stops to close out a 104-100 victory over the Magic last time out, as 5-point home underdogs. The 204 points made it OVER the posted total of 198.

Brad Miller led the Kings with 20 points, four rebounds and six assists and John Salmons added a team-high 21 points in the win.

Team records:
Memphis: 10-24 SU, 16-18 ATS
Sacramento: 13-20 SU, 19-14 ATS

Memphis most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 3-7
Before playing Golden State are 6-4
After playing LA Lakers are 5-5
After a loss are 4-6

Sacramento most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 8-2
Before playing Indiana are 5-5
After playing Orlando are 4-6
After a win are 3-7

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Memphis's last 6 games when playing on the road against Sacramento
The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Memphis's last 18 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Memphis's last 6 games when playing Sacramento
Memphis is 2-3-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Sacramento
Sacramento is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Memphis
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Sacramento's last 6 games when playing at home against Memphis
Sacramento is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
Sacramento is 16-5 SU in its last 21 games when playing Memphis

Next up:
Memphis at Golden State, Friday, January 11
Sacramento home to Indiana, Saturday, January 12

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Phoenix Suns vs. Utah Jazz

- The Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz will both be gunning for a victory on Thursday when they meet at EnergySolutions Arena.

The Suns came away with 129-122 victory over the Pacers last time out, as 11-point favorites. The combined score sailed OVER the posted total of 225.

Raja Bell had a game-high 27 points with nine rebounds to lead the Suns, and Leandro Barbosa alson had 27 points in the win.

The Jazz held a 21 point lead after the first quarter Tuesday, and cruised to a 111-89 victory over the Pacers. The Jazz easily covered the 8-point spread at home, while the combined 200 points fell UNDER the posted total of 212.

Carlos Boozer led the way with 22 points from 9-for-14 shooting, and Matt Harpring added 16 points in the win.

Current streak:
Phoenix has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Phoenix: 25-10 SU, 15-19-1 ATS
Utah: 19-17 SU, 16-20 ATS

Phoenix most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 4-6
Before playing Milwaukee are 5-5
After playing Indiana are 6-4
After a win are 5-5

Utah most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 9-1
Before playing Orlando are 2-8
After playing Indiana are 4-6
After a win are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
Phoenix is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Phoenix's last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Phoenix's last 7 games on the road
Phoenix is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games when playing on the road against Utah
Utah is 13-2 SU in its last 15 games at home
Utah is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Phoenix
Utah is 15-6 SU in its last 21 games when playing at home against Phoenix
Utah is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 games at home

Next up:
Phoenix home to Milwaukee, Saturday, January 12
Utah home to Orlando, Saturday, January 12

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Illinois (8-7, 4-10-1 ATS) at (21) Wisconsin (12-2, 6-5-0 ATS)

Illinois, which has stumbled out of the gate in Big Ten play, heads to a tough place to right the ship when it visits the Kohl Center for a league battle with the red-hot Badgers in Madison, Wis.

Illinois opened league play with two straight home losses, including Sunday’s 68-64 setback to Penn State as an eight-point chalk. That came on the heels of a 74-58 whipping at the hands of Ohio State as a four-point favorite a week ago. The Fighting Illini average 66.2 points per game, but they’ve only reached that average once in the past seven games – a 77-43 home rout of Loyola of Maryland as a 19-point chalk.

Wisconsin comes into this contest on a six-game winning streak (3-3 ATS), including opening Big Ten play with two straight wins. The Badgers rolled 70-54 at Michigan as an 8½-point chalk on Jan. 2, then topped Iowa 64-51 on Saturday, but failed to cash as an 18-point home favorite. Wisconsin is allowing just 53.9 ppg, fourth in the nation.

The Badgers beat the Illini 53-41 in the 2007 Big Ten Tournament in Chicago, covering as a six-point favorite. These two teams met just once in the regular season last year, with Wisconsin scoring a 71-64 road victory as a 1½-point underdog to snap a four-game skid against Illinois (1-3 ATS).

The road team is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings in this series.

The Illini have lost three in a row SU and ATS and are 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 starts. This season, they are 4-3 in road/neutral site games (3-4 ATS), but 0-2 ATS in true road contests. Going back to last year, Illinois carries negative ATS streaks of 1-4 on the highway, 1-4-1 following an ATS loss, 1-5 against the Big Ten and 0-4 in Thursday contests.

The Badgers are off to a 9-1 start at home, but after cashing in their first three at the Kohl Center, they’ve come up short against the number in their last four as a host. They are on further negative ATS runs of 2-5 following a SU win and 1-4 on Thursday. However, Wisconsin is 6-1-1 ATS in its last eight after an ATS setback.

Wisconsin has stayed under the total in every game during its six-game win streak, and the under is 8-3 in lined games this season for the Badgers, including 5-1 in Madison. Also, the under is on runs of 10-2-1 for Illinois on the road, 11-3-1 for the Illini in Big Ten action and 4-1 in this rivalry.


(4) Washington State (13-0, 8-4 ATS) at USC (9-5, 7-5 ATS)

Washington State aims to keep its perfect record intact when it travels to Los Angeles to face the Trojans in a Pac-10 Conference matchup.

Washington State got a 56-52 win at archrival Washington on Saturday to open league play, barely cashing as a 3½-point chalk to move to 4-0 ATS in its last four road/neutral site games. It was the sixth straight time that the Cougars allowed 60 or fewer points, and they lead the nation in scoring defense, yielding just 49.8 points per game.

Southern Cal dropped its second straight Pac-10 contest 52-46 at Stanford on Saturday, but still cashed as a 7½-point ‘dog to halt an 0-2 ATS skid. It was the lowest output of the season for the Trojans, nearly 23 points below their season average (68.9).

Washington State lost to the Trojans 70-61 as a one-point ‘dog in last year’s Pac-10 Tournament at Staples Center in Los Angeles. But the Cougars won both regular-season meetings, prevailing 58-55 as a four-point pup on the road and 88-86 in overtime laying six points at home, six days before the tourney matchup.

Washington State is 7-3 in its last 10 against USC (5-4 ATS in lined games).

The Cougars are 5-2 ATS in road/neutral site contests this season and 4-0 ATS on the highway against teams with a winning record. They’re also 9-4 ATS in their last 13 Thursday contests. On the negative side, they are 2-5 ATS in their last seven Pac-10 games and 2-10 ATS against teams with a winning record.

USC is 6-1 ATS against teams with a winning record and 13-3 ATS following a SU loss. However, the Trojans are 0-4 ATS hosting a team with a winning road mark and just 2-2 ATS in lined home contests this season.

The over is 16-5 in Southern Cal’s last 21 in league play. However, the under is 9-3 for USC this season, including a current 6-1 run, and is 3-1 for the Trojans at home. For Washington State, the under is 5-1 in the last six Thursday games and 8-3 in Pac-10 action.


Detroit (26-9, 23-11-1 ATS) at San Antonio (23-10, 16-16-1 ATS)

The Pistons look to avoid a third consecutive defeat as they play in Texas for the second straight night, this time facing the defending NBA champion Spurs.

Detroit has followed up an 11-game SU and ATS winning streak with consecutive losses, first falling to the Celtics 92-85 on Saturday as a 2½-point favorite, then getting crushed 102-86 last night at Dallas as a 2½-point road underdog. The Pistons have still won 18 of their last 22 contests, going 18-3-1 ATS in that span.

Wednesday’s loss to the Mavericks also halted Detroit’s five-game SU and ATS road winning streak. Flip Saunders’ crew is still 9-2 in its last 11 on the highway (9-1-1 ATS).

San Antonio lost at Golden State 130-121 in overtime Monday as a 1½-point pup, the fourth straight ATS setback for the Spurs (2-2 SU), who played four games in five days during that stretch. The Spurs are just 5-5 SU and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 starts.

San Antonio swept both meetings with Detroit last year, winning 90-89 at home in March as a six-point chalk and 90-81 in February as a four-point road pup. However, the Spurs and Pistons have split the last 10 series clashes, with Detroit holding a 6-3 ATS edge in the last nine. The road team is 5-2 ATS in the last seven battles.

Despite the Spurs’ recent woes, they are on ATS runs of 20-8-1 at home, 5-1 against the Central Division and 5-2 against the Eastern Conference. In addition, they have a lengthy ATS trend of 43-19-2 when playing on two days’ rest.

The Pistons are on ATS runs of 27-12-1 on the road and 5-1-1 against the Southwest Division, including last night’s defeat in Dallas. They are also a stunning 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 on the second of back-to-back nights (6-1-1 this year) and 9-4 ATS in Thursday contests. However, they’re just 3-4 ATS as an underdog this year and carry a 4-10 ATS mark against teams with a winning percentage of more than .600.

The Pistons on Thursday allowed a team to score 100 points for just the third time during their 18-4 SU roll.

The under is 11-3 in Detroit’s last 14 overall and 11-2 in its last 13 against Southwest Division foes, and the under has also cashed the last four times the Pistons have played with no rest. For the Spurs, the under is 4-1 against teams with a winning record and 9-4 in their last 13 starts overall. Finally, the under is 4-1 in the last five Detroit-San Antonio clashes.


Phoenix (25-10, 15-19-1 ATS) at Utah (19-17, 16-20-1 ATS)

The Suns hit the court for the second straight night when they travel to EnergySolutions Arena for a meeting with the Jazz, who are among the best in the league this season on their home floor.

Phoenix is coming off Wednesday night’s 129-122 overtime victory over Indiana, falling short as an 11½- point home favorite. The Suns are on a 6-1 run, but just 3-4 ATS. They’ve cracked 100 points in six of those seven games, including averaging a whopping 120 ppg in their last five.

Utah drilled Indiana 111-89 Tuesday night as a 7½-point home chalk for its third win in four games (2-2 ATS), reaching at least 110 points in all three victories. The Jazz are now 13-3 at home this season (10-6 ATS).

The Suns held off the Jazz 103-98 last month at home, but failed to cover the 7½-point spread. Phoenix also blasted Utah 126-98 on the road last April as a three-point chalk. However, the Jazz had won the previous four meetings and they’re 7-3 ATS in the last 10 clashes. Also, in this series, the underdog is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 and the visitor is 5-0 ATS in the last five

The Suns are 4-9-1 ATS in their last 14 starts against the Western Conference and 1-5 ATS in their last six against the Northwest Division.

The Jazz are mired in ATS funks of 6-13 overall, 2-8 on Thursday and 2-5 ATS on one day of rest. However, they are on positive pointspread steaks of 5-1 against teams with a winning record, 7-3 against the Pacific Division and 18-7-1 on their home floor.

The over is 13-3 in Utah’s last 16 games against Pacific Division opponents and 3-0 in the Suns’ last three. However, the under is 6-2 for Utah versus the Western Conference and 9-4 for Phoenix in conference play. Furthermore, the under is 5-2-1 the last eight in this series.


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SEC Rewind
B Edwards

Vanderbilt became the only undefeated SEC team remaining Wednesday night, when the Commodores beat South Carolina and Tennessee handed Ole Miss its first defeat.

Vandy won an 80-73 decision at home, but the Gamecocks cashed tickets as 8 ½-point underdogs. The 153 combined points fell ‘under’ the 157-point total.

A.J. Ogilvy scored a game-high 25 points to pace Kevin Stallings’ team. Three other Vandy players finished in double figures, including the SEC’s leading scorer Shan Foster, who finished with 13 points and six rebounds.

Vandy is back in action Saturday at Kentucky. Look for the Commodores to be favorites at Rupp Arena for the first time in school history.

Even in defeat, gamblers have to continue to marvel at South Carolina’s tremendous success – at least for our purposes -- on the road. Dave Odom’s squad has now covered the number in 15 of its last 19 road games.

The Gamecocks will be looking for their first SEC win Saturday when they host the Volunteers.

Tennessee had to rally past Ole Miss in the final minute to capture a thrilling 85-83 win. Tyler Smith scored on a post move in the paint with six seconds left to give the Vols the lead, and Chris Warren’s wild shot from 40 feet just before the horn didn’t fall for the Rebels.

Nevertheless, they acquitted themselves well. Most importantly, Andy Kennedy’s troops hooked up their backers as nine-point underdogs. Warren, the freshman point guard, was sensational in his first SEC road game, scoring a team-high 24 points.

Georgia is down to nine scholarship players, but that didn’t prevent the Bulldogs from knocking off in-state rival Georgia Tech by a 79-72 count. They took the money as two-point home favorites at most books. Billy Humphrey drained 9-of-12 shots from the field en route to a 23-point effort, while Sundiata Gaines scored 16 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists.

The Dawgs will take their 9-4 record to Starkville on Saturday to face Mississippi State.

Speaking of Rick Stansbury’s team, it destroyed an injury-riddled LSU squad 61-39 in Baton Rouge. Mississippi St. easily covered the number as a three-point ‘chalk.’ Charles Rhodes missed the LSU game with a sprained ankle that’s had him on the sidelines since late December. His status for the UGA game is uncertain.

Florida appeared to come of age somewhat in its 90-83 win Tuesday at Alabama as a 3 ½-point underdog. Granted, this Crimson Tide team is without Ronald Steele and certainly isn’t as talented as the type of ‘Bama teams we’ve seen in the past. But they still have a pair of big-time players in Alonzo Gee and Richard Hendrix, both of whom were enjoying outstanding games.

But even on a night when the Gators gave up 47 points in the first half, they found a way to get stops and rally in the second half for a nice confidence-building victory. Billy Donovan did an excellent job of scheduling for this year’s team that has zero seniors, one junior and a slew of freshman and sophomores.

The Gators played cupcakes galore in the early going, allowing this young team to build confidence and learn on the fly before SEC play. They lost to Florida St. and Ohio State, but won 13 other games mostly in convincing fashion.

Walter Hodge is the veteran guard who can shoot from 3-point land and defend extremely well. Calathes is the playmaker, a Matt Walsh type with better passing skills but less range than Walsh, who made the most inexplicable decision to leave early for the NBA Draft than any other player in recent memory.

And there’s sophomore center Marreese Speights, who can dominate the paint defensively and own the boards when he’s not in foul trouble. Also, freshman Jai Lucas (19 points at ‘Bama) and sophomore power forward Dan Werner are playing well.

For those who thought UF would fall completely off the map in 2007-2008, think again. The Gators play host to Auburn on Saturday at noon Eastern.

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Southern Miss basketball coach Larry Eustachy takes leave of absence
January 9, 2008

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) -Southern Miss basketball coach Larry Eustachy is taking an indefinite leave of absence to be with his ailing mother.

It is unclear how long Eustachy will be out, a school spokesman said. He could be back by Saturday's game with Tulane or miss more significant time.

Associate head coach Steve Barnes will lead the Golden Eagles (8-7) in Eustachy's absence.

Eustachy made the announcement following Tuesday night's 52-41 loss to Central Florida, the Conference USA opener for both teams.

The coach's mother, Helen Eustachy, has cancer and he flew to California on Wednesday to be with her.

Southern Miss athletic director Richard Giannini said Eustachy should stay with his mother as long as necessary.

``At this time, Larry needs to go home and be with this mother,'' Giannini said. ``I went through the same situation, and I know it can be day by day. As athletic director, I believe nothing else is more important. I encourage Larry to take as much time as he needs.''

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Thursday’s Pregame Buzz

Detroit Pistons at San Antonio Spurs

* Pistons are 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games when playing on 0 days rest.
* Spurs are 20-8-1 ATS in their last 29 home games.
* The UNDER is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.

Phoenix Suns at Utah Jazz

* Suns are 4-9-1 ATS in their last 14 games against the Western Conference.
* Jazz are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games overall.
* The road team is 5-0 ATS in the last 5 meetings.


West Virginia at Louisville

* West Virginia is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games against a team winning above 60 percent.
* Louisville is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games following an ATS loss.
* The UNDER is 4-1 in Louisville’s last 5 games overall.

Illinois at #21 Wisconsin

* The Wisconsin Badgers have won 12 straight Big Ten home games since Bo Ryan has taken over as head coach. The only losses during that stretch came against ranked Illinois teams in 2005 and 2006. EDGE: WISCONSIN
* The Badgers are holding opponents to a conference-low 54 points per game and 38 percent from the field. Those numbers are even better at the Kohl Center, where they have allowed just 51 points on 36 percent shooting. EDGE: WISCONSIN
* Illinois is among the lowest-scoring Big Ten teams at 66 points per game. The Illini enter this game losers of three straight, and head coach Bruce Weber said “We are still searching for answers.” EDGE: WISCONSIN
* Illinois is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games against the Big Ten.
* Wisconsin is 6-1-1 ATS in its last 8 games following an ATS loss.
* The UNDER is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.

Cal at Oregon

* Cal is 10-4-1 ATS in its last 15 games following an ATS loss.
* Cal is 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings in Oregon.
* Oregon is 1-10-1 ATS in its last 12 games against a winning team.

Arkansas at Auburn

* Arkansas is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games following a SU win.
* Auburn is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games following a SU loss.
* The home team is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings.

#4 Washington State at USC

* Washington State is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 games against a winning team.
* USC is 13-3 ATS in its last 16 games following a SU loss.
* The favorite is 11-5 ATS in the last 16 meetings.

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NBA Thursday Gameday

Detroit at San Antonio

The Pistons are on a four-game road trip that began in Dallas on Wednesday night. Detroit’s matchup with the Spurs on Thursday night will be their third tough opponent in a row, as they faced Boston on Saturday. The Pistons had beaten the Celtics earlier in the season, but could not repeat the deed last weekend after falling 92-85 as a 2-point favorite. Strangely the Pistons lost that game despite holding the Celtics big three - Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen - all at bay. Glen Davis led the Celtics with 20 points, marking the first time this season that Garnett, Pierce or Allen did not lead Boston in points.  The Pistons delivered their usual balanced offensive attack in the loss with Richard Hamilton scoring a team-high 18 points while handing out eight assists, and Chauncey Billups added 17 points and six assists. Rasheed Wallace poured in 16 points and Jason Maxiell also scored in double-figures with 13 points.

The Spurs are coming off a hard-fought 130-121 overtime loss to Golden State as a 1.5-point underdog on Monday night. The Spurs were done in by Stephen Jackson, who scored 12 points in overtime and had 29 on the night. Tim Duncan led San Antonio with 32 points and 13 rebounds, while Tony Parker chipped in with 31 points and eight assists. Manu Ginobili delivered 20 points off the bench and Michael Finley had 14 points.

This will be the first meeting of the season between Detroit and San Antonio. Last season the two powerhouses met up twice with San Antonio winning both games.

Memphis at Sacramento

The 10-24 Grizzlies are not surprisingly coming off a 117-101 loss to the Lakers as a 6.5-point underdog. Six different Grizzlies’ players scored in double-digits in the loss, with Mike Miller leading the team with 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Pau Gasol added 18 points and 12 rebounds, while leading scorer Rudy Gay was held to 15 points. Rookie Mike Conley Jr. continued to impress in his fourth straight start, scoring 11 points to go along with five rebounds and six assists.

The Kings upset Sacramento 104-100 as a 7-point favorite on Tuesday night. The Kings nearly squandered a 19-point lead in the victory after playing a dreadful fourth quarter that saw them get outscored 38-26 by the Magic. John Salmons led the Kings with 21 points in the win and Brad Miller poured in 20 points.

The Grizzlies and Kings clashed three times last season with Sacramento winning two of three. However, Memphis was 3-0 ATS in the three contests.

Phoenix at Utah

The Suns shone bright earlier this week, as they crushed Denver 137-115 as a 7.5-point favorite. The Suns were lethal from the three-point line in the win as they hit 20 three-pointers. Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire both posted double-doubles in the win, with Marion unleashing 27 points and 14 rebounds and Stoudemire delivering 20 points and 10 rebounds. Seldom-used Marcus Banks scored 23 points off the bench for Phoenix and Grant Hill netted 20 points in the blowout victory.

The Jazz may finally be breaking out of their slump after pounding Indiana 111-89 as a 7.5-point favorite on Tuesday night. Carlos Boozer scored 22 points despite seeing limited action in the second half. The Jazz took a big 28-point lead into halftime which allowed Jerry Sloan to give his starters some extra rest and use his bench. Matt Harpring took advantage of the extra playing time with 16 points and Kyle Korver had 12 points in the easy win.

The Suns and Jazz squared off earlier this season back in mid-December when Phoenix defeated Utah 103-98 as a 7.5-point favorite. Steve Nash led the Suns with 29 points and 11 assists in the win, while Boozer had 24 points and 13 rebounds for Utah.


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Re: Betting News and Notes - Jan 10

Jazz F Andrei Kirilenko (12 ppg; back) is listed as doubtful for Thursday's game.

Auburn F Korvotney Barber (14 ppg; hand) is listed as out of Thursday's game.

UCLA G Darren Collison (12 ppg; food poisoning) is listed as probable for Thursday.

Suns G Steve Nash (flu) was forced to leave Wednesday's game, and hasn't even traveled yet to Utah. He is doubtful for tonight.

Suns F Shawn Marion only took one shot after injuring his right elbow during Wednesday's game. He is sore, but expected to play.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Jan 10

Which team is the biggest train wreck?

In case you hadn't noticed, we're not cruising through a golden age of the NBA.

And while it's true that encouraging words should be aimed at Boston and Portland, we also have to recognize the bad basketball erupting all over the place. So, after celebrating the return to relevance of the Los Angeles Lakers, we have to balance any league review by reminding you that six teams have managed 10 or fewer victories.

With such disturbing numbers as our guide, we now will attempt to identify the three biggest train-wreck teams in the NBA. Please note that the Chicago Bulls are exempt from this investigation, largely because we looked into their immediate track-jumping several weeks ago.

The Houston Rockets are a mess of inconsistency, but less of a train wreck than at least three teams in our study. Seattle's team is miles from making it back to the station because the Sonics seem to have a plan (even if they're not sure where this plan will unfold).

Other teams we won't pick on here — even though they may deserve it — are the L.A. Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Bobcats, Philly 76ers and New Jersey Nets.

We'll save those franchises for a future column on the splendidly mediocre.

So where does that leave us? Well, our first stop seems to be Minnesota, where the Timberwolves are riding a victory that pushes their record to a sizzling 5-29.

The T-wolves are sliding to third on our train-wreck list because their brand of awful is sort of happening on purpose. By trading Kevin Garnett to Boston, they willingly went to lousy from mediocre in one damning phone call.

And Kevin McHale (the franchise's talent genius) does have a plan — build the T-wolves into a contender with good, young talent. With that in mind, he acquired forward Al Jefferson — a double-double machine — in the deal with Boston.

Unfortunately, the talent haul also included gifted forward Gerald Green, inconsistent point guard Sebastian Telfair and reasonably effective forward Ryan Gomes. "Unfortunate" is the crucial word thanks to Green, whose considerable talent has been overwhelmed by his inability (4.8 points per game on 35-percent shooting) to extract much from it.

McHale then dumped the ridiculous contract of center Mark Blount on Miami, but also coughed up the expiring deal of Ricky Davis to do so. In return, the T-wolves acquired veteran Antoine Walker, whose conditioning issues are less scary than the $9.3 million the team will owe him next season.

To the good, the T-wolves have the expiring contracts of Theo Ratliff ($11.6 million), Michael Doleac ($3.1), Green and Gomes, leaving them with $55 million and change committed to next season. For the record, the current salary cap is set at $55,630,000.

To the bad, we notice that at 6-foot-8, Jefferson usually finds himself at center with no other legitimate option in uniform. Telfair is making just 39 percent of his shots, rookie Corey Brewer is shooting even worse and Marko Jaric can be a turnover machine.

The T-wolves are hoping Randy Foye will return from injury as a real player and that this train wreck can yield a victory on lottery night in Secaucus.

But with McHale in the war room, that probably won't end well, either.

Our next stop is South Florida, where the once-mighty Miami Heat slipped to 8-27 with Tuesday's loss to the Timberwolves.

To be fair, we should point out that Hall of Fame center Shaquille O'Neal has missed the last six games with a hip problem after missing the first 29 by not really playing well. It also should be noted that their previous defeat occurred at Memphis.

The best thing we can say about Miami is that even with Shaq on the books at $20 million, they have a reasonable $52 million and change in contracts committed to next season.

This windfall excludes the expiring contracts of disturbingly mediocre point guard Jason Williams ($8.9 million), Davis ($6.8M) and injured backup center Alonzo Mourning ($2.7M).

To the bad, there is the $15.2 million total they must pay Blount over the next two years and the $2.4 million player option held by reserve point guard Smush Parker.

According to various reports, we now aren't sure if these Heat commitments include the coaching return of Pat Riley. Based on his remaining assets, we can't blame him (well, except for his role as chief executive and talent judge) for wanting to run away ... again.

These limited assets include superstar Dwyane Wade, 20-year-old shooting guard Daequan Cook and 22-year-old small forward Dorell Wright. Riley, though, will lack is sufficient cap loot for a quality point guard.

As train wrecks go, this one seems pretty severe.

Our engine now pulls into New York City, where the Knicks have established themselves as the greatest train wreck the league has seen in a while.

We should point out that this status goes well beyond winning and losing, even though Tuesday's triumph over Chicago leaves the Knicks at a gaudy 9-24.

Where do we begin? Let's try the top, where president and CEO James Dolan decided the thing to do was hire Isiah Thomas. Then, after years of smaller train wrecks, Dolan really went to town.

Instead of settling a sexual harassment claim against the team and Thomas out of court, Dolan allowed the franchise laundry to flap in the dangerous breeze of public consumption. While Thomas came off looking very much like a Hall of Fame creep, pricey point guard Stephon Marbury was permitted to toss a little candor on the fire.

When Marbury speaks, it's usually gold for reporters and a nightmare for the franchise.

Without going down the roll call of courtroom catastrophe, let's just list this as prime train-wreck fodder and move on to the basketball court.

OK, how's that Zach Randolph acquisition working out? Well, Zach — who's being paid $13.3 million this season — is giving the Knicks 17 points, 10 rebounds and 45-percent shooting. Dolan will owe him another $48 million spread over the next three years.

The roll call for next year includes Marbury (his last at $21.9 million), Eddy Curry ($9.7M), Quentin Richardson ($8.8M), Malik Rose ($7.6M), Jerome James (yeah, he's still on the books at $6.2M) and Jared Jeffries ($6.4M).

Jeffries, who's giving the Knicks 2 points and 3 rebounds per game this season, has two more seasons at $6 million-plus.

The total team tab for this season is a cap-crushing $88.7 million. And it gets worse. When all the bad contracts kick in next season, the price will rise to $90.9 million.

At least the Knicks fans currently tied to the tracks may be spared if this train can't even reach them.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Jan 10

mvbski wrote:

Jazz F Andrei Kirilenko (12 ppg; back) is listed as doubtful for Thursday's game.

Auburn F Korvotney Barber (14 ppg; hand) is listed as out of Thursday's game.

UCLA G Darren Collison (12 ppg; food poisoning) is listed as probable for Thursday.

Suns G Steve Nash (flu) was forced to leave Wednesday's game, and hasn't even traveled yet to Utah. He is doubtful for tonight.

Suns F Shawn Marion only took one shot after injuring his right elbow during Wednesday's game. He is sore, but expected to play.

Kings C Brad Miller (14 ppg; illness) and G John Salmons (17 ppg; illness) have been added to the injury report as questionable

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