Betting News and Notes - Jan 19

Re: Betting News and Notes - Jan 19

Looking at the weekend's top matchups

I hate to keep running this topic into the ground but ... the Atlantic 10 is one heck of a conference this season.

If I were throwing together a 65-team "mock" field this afternoon, I'd include Charlotte, Dayton, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Xavier in it.

Other quickie comments before diving into this weekend's games:

The victory at California (99-90, double OT) Thursday night by Arizona State was the biggest in Herb Sendek's short (one-plus seasons) stint at the Pac-10 school. Yes, it was even bigger than the Sun Devils' home wins over Xavier, Oregon and Arizona because it showed that they're capable of beating a quality opponent in a hostile environment. And that's something that a lot of teams that some people assume are NCAA tourney "locks" haven't done yet. ASU will be in the NCAA tournament.

South Carolina's Dave Odom, who announced his retirement Friday as the program's coach, effective at the end of the current season, is something approaching as nice a guy as there is in his profession. And that profession will miss him dearly, on and off the floor.

Rumors have been running rampant over the past weeks that Pepperdine coach Vance Walberg's relationship with his administration and players had reached the "rocky" stage. So the news that he was "resigning", for "personal and family" reasons didn't exactly come out of left field.

A quick spin around the weekend schedule:

Saturday

Non-conference

Ohio State at Tennessee
Frank Says: Easily the best of the action of the non-conference variety this week. The host Vols are humming along and getting themselves into position to lap up a No. 1 seed in the tournament if North Carolina/Memphis/Kansas/UCLA were to falter. They'd have to collapse to fall from being at least a No. 2 seed. The Buckeyes would create themselves, and the Big Ten, a lot of at-large bid goodwill with a strong performance in this one.

ACC
Clemson at Duke
Frank Says: Can anyone prevent a 1-2 UNC-Duke (or vice versa) finish in the conference? The Tigers seem the most capable but to do so are going to need to get a "push" for that gut-twisting loss at home the Tar Heels. Coming out of Cameron Indoor Stadium with a W would do the trick quite nicely, thank you very much. In a nutshell: How well can the Blue Devils neutralize the Tigers' superior post strength (led by Trevor Booker), and can Clemson keep Mike Krzyzewski's stable of slashers and jump shooters from slicing up its half-court defense?

Maryland at North Carolina
Frank Says: Remember when a Terps-Tar Heels showdown would be the Game of the Week? Since dropping three in a row in late December, however, Gary Williams' team has won five of six, including a four-point decision at Charlotte that looks better by the day. The near-escapes at Clemson and Georgia Tech aside, No. 1 UNC is still in solid position to be 22-0 when those fellows from Durham visit on Feb. 6.

ATLANTIC 10
Charlotte at Massachusetts
Frank Says: A cool matchup of two teams very much in contention for a conference title/at-large bid. The 49ers are 2-0 in conference and have won five of six, including the 10-point eybrow-raiser at Clemson a few weeks ago. Leemire Goldwire of Charlotte, one of the best sub-six foot "shooting guards" in college hoops, went for 36 points against Saint Joseph's Wednesday night — and turned the ball over seven times without an assist. You don't see that a lot. Interesting thing about Massachusetts' 12-4 start: The Minutemen averaged 90 points in games at Syracuse, Boston College, Vanderbilt and Dayton, and won three of them.

BIG EAST
Notre Dame at Georgetown
Frank Says: Does a 26-point loss (to Marquette) in the only "true" road game on their schedule offer some perspective to the Irish' 13-3 and 3-1 records? Yes. But Mike Brey has a quality team and an all-conference lock in sophomore Luke Harangody, and Notre Dame should put forth a much more competitive performance against the Hoyas, who are attempting to bounce back from their Monday night loss at Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati; Villanova at Syracuse
Frank Says: The Panthers continue to play better than had been anticipated following the loss to injuries of Mike Cook and Levance Fields. Jonny Flynn (24 points/5 rebounds/4 assists) had his best Big East game for the Orange in the 22-point win over Rutgers Wednesday night. Both Villanova and Syracuse are far from on stable at-large footing at the moment. But they're members of a conference that offers plenty of opportunities to play yourselves into that status.

BIG 12
Kansas at Missouri
Frank Says: If one of the three unbeatens is going to lose this weekend, this is where it's going to happen. The Tigers clocked Texas in Columbia last week. If the Jayhawks prevail with as much relative ease as they did in Lincoln, Neb., last week, the "Kansas is really the best team in the country right now!" school of thought will pick up a few thousand more disciples.

Texas A&M at Kansas State; Texas Tech at Oklahoma; Baylor at Nebraska
Frank Says: All of these clubs are in the at-large hunt, the Red Raiders getting into that discussion based on the spanking they gave the Aggies in Lubbock earlier this week.

MISSOURI VALLEY
Illinois State at Drake
Frank Says: OK, everyone who doesn't need to check out the conference standings to know that these teams are a combined 12-0 in conference and 29-3 overall, raise your hands ... amazing, isn't it? This could be the weekend's best, and most fiercely competitive, game in the country. So much for the consensus of national thought that the MVC is "down", just because Bradley, Southern Illinois, Northern Iowa and Wichita State have had their struggles.

Indiana State at Creighton
Frank Says: These teams are tied for third (at 4-2). The Bluejays (13-3) are in reasonable position to play themselves into at-large consideration if they finish in the top three in the conference.

PAC-10
USC at UCLA
Frank Says: The Trojans' 1-3 start in conference has taken some of the national shine off this game. As Tim Floyd's USC team (10-6 overall) struggles to gain cohesiveness at both ends of the floor, Ben Howland's Bruins are solidifying the national perception that they've got as much chance as do unbeatens North Carolina, Kansas and Memphis of cutting down nets in San Antonio. Watching how the Trojans guard Kevin Love and how the Bruins try to keep O.J. Mayo in check is, if nothing else, worth tuning into this one (CBS, 3:30 p.m. ET) for.

Arizona State at Stanford; Arizona at Cal
Frank Says: The four teams involved in down-to-the-wire decisions Thursday night swap opponents. And the Sun Devils, depending on what happens in Westwood earlier Saturday, could come out of the Bay Area this week sitting in first place by themselves! Amazing — but then again, so is ASU's James Harden, who, as is the case with Kevin Love, is in the hunt for both Freshman and Player of the Year honors in the Pac-10.

SEC
Kentucky at Florida
Frank Says: A showdown of teams that have been much worse (the Wildcats) and better (the host Gators) than most anticipated back in November. The Gators were every bit as impressive in their narrow loss at Mississippi earlier this week as they were in any of their 15 victories. And Kentucky still has too much talent to be going into the game with a 7-8 record.

Sunday

ACC
Florida State at Wake Forest
Frank Says: Each of these teams, in theory, has enough talent to finish closer to third place than 12th in the conference standings. The Deacon Demons haven't lost at home but the Seminoles (they've won at Florida and Georgia Tech) have played fairly well on the road.

BIG EAST
Marquette at Connecticut
Frank Says: For the Golden Eagles, only five days separated a 26-point home win over Notre Dame and a 20-point loss at Louisville. Is life on the road that difficult in the Big East? It is, apparently, when the home team is playing as well as Rick Pitino's Cardinals are. The Huskies experienced something Thursday night (a home loss; in this case, by 12 points to Providence) that any team that aspires to finish in the upper three spots in the Big East can't afford many of. Another to Marquette drops Jim Calhoun's team to 2-4 in conference, with nary a non-conference victory that will get anyone on the NCAA selection committee jazzed.

BIG TEN
Michigan State at Minnesota
Frank Says: The last time the Spartans went on the road, things got a bit, well, ugly when they were able to manufacture all of 36 points in a seven-point loss to Iowa. They weren't exactly an offensive juggernaut against Ohio State (prevailing, 66-60) in East Lansing, Tuesday night, either. The Gophers were the latest opponent to figure out that Eric Gordon isn't the only quality freshman 15-1 Indiana has after Jordan Crawford went for 16 points in the Hoosiers' 65-60 victory against them Thursday night.

PAC-10
Oregon at Washington State
Frank Says: The Ducks swept the Cougars a year ago, winning in Pullman, 77-74. Aaron Brooks averaged 23.5 points in those games for Oregon, but he's playing for the Houston Rockets now, and the Cougars are even better than when they won 26 games and finished second in the conference. Do you have a hunch about who I think is going to prevail in this one?

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Jan 19

Pacers lose O'Neal for 2 weeks
January 19, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal will miss at least two weeks with a bruised left knee, team officials said Saturday before Indiana played Sacramento.

Earlier this week, O'Neal said he was not fully healed from knee surgery to repair torn meniscus cartilage last April. He said he's surprised the healing process has been so slow.

O'Neal said he had trouble during Wednesday's practice, but he started that night against Golden State. He left the game with 2:58 remaining in the first quarter after going scoreless and committing four turnovers in the first 9 minutes.

O'Neal spoke with team doctors and trainers, and after a strength test, the decision was made to sit him the rest of the game.

He is a six-time All-Star who averaged 19.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks last season, but has missed 89 games over the past 3 1/2 seasons because of injuries, illnesses and suspensions.

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