Saturday Service Plays

Saturday Service Plays

Dark Horse Sports

New Orleans at San Antonio

The NBA, more so than any other major sports league, can be broken down into the contenders and the pretenders by midseason.  Two true contenders will be on display this weekend in a clash of Southwest Division powerhouses.  New Orleans travels to San Antonio on Saturday, and superstars will be on display.

The most important battle in this match-up, like many match-ups, will be between the dueling point guards.  When these teams lock horns, the point guard play separates the winner from the loser.  If San Antonio can get Tony Parker to fill up his stat sheet and contain Chris Paul to a similar stat sheet, San Antonio has the x-factor that New Orleans can’t compete with, the 20-10 machine, Tim Duncan.

Add the fact that New Orleans handed San Antonio a hardfought loss in the first match-up of the year, and you have yourself a great NBA contest.  Tune into the NBA channel at 8:35et on Saturday, and enjoy some great NBA basketball, the way the game was meant to be played.  You will be tuning into a motivated and intense Tony Parker performance to boot.

Lay the points and take San Antonio over New Orleans on Saturday night.

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Mike Wynn Sports

Michigan @ Purdue

Don’t look now but Matt Painter has his Purdue Boilermakers playing as well as anybody in the Big10 Conference right now. Purdue wrapped up their fifth straight conference win Tuesday night at Wisconsin and they now stand at 5-2 in Big10 play despite a 0-2 start to conference play. Michigan Wolverines took the other route. Michigan started out conference play 3-1, but have since dropped 3 of 4 at the time of this writing to find themselves at 4-4 and sixth in the Big10 standings. Early line for this game has Purdue favored by about 10 points, so let’s take at look at both these teams starting with Michigan.

Wolverines are led statistically by two players, sophomore guard Manny Harris and junior forward DeShawn Sims. Harris is the second leading scorer in the Big10 this season at 17.6 per game while Sims is fourth in scoring at 15.8 a contest. Between the two of them they produce 47.5% of the teams scoring, 47% of the teams rebounding, 37% of the teams steals, and Harris is the leading assist man on the team as well. It’s easy to see that the Wolverines generally go as their big 2 go. Second year coach John Beilein has a very young team that he puts on the floor playing mostly freshmen and sophomores, and it’s shown on the road in Big10 play where Michigan is 1-2, with the lone road win over a weak Indiana squad in overtime. The future is bright for Michigan and Wolverine fans got a glimpse of it earlier this season as they knocked off UCLA & Duke, but again this is a young team overall and they’re going to have their moments good and bad this season.

Purdue Boilermakers are a lock for the NCAA tournament in March. Purdue 16-4 this season is currently riding a 5 game win streak in conference play and they’ve been impressive with wins at Minnesota & Wisconsin included on the list. Matt Painter has a nice blend of veteran and young talent on this team led in scoring by sophomore guard E’Twaun Moore’s 14.2 points per game, but the guy that makes the offense go is their 5-9 freshmen guard Lewis Jackson. Jackson is one man press buster who can penetrate and dish and the Boilermakers have a couple guys who can knock down the three-pointers in Hummel & Moore. Purdue is not a great offensive team but they’re adequate, especially with the way they can play defense. Purdue only allows 57.6 points per game which ranks them fifth best in the country and second only to Illinois in the Big10 conference. Solid defense, good free throw shooting, and strong rebounding can win you a lot of games and Purdue figures to win a lot more game yet this season.

Looking at this match up Saturday I’m going to favor Purdue minus the points. Michigan stars Harris and Sims will not get easy looks against Matt Painter’s Purdue defense and the young supporting cast for Michigan will probably not be enough to test Purdue seriously. Boilermakers are on a roll and I don’t see the train derailing in this one.

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

SPORTS ADVISORS

West Virginia (15-5, 7-10 ATS) at (7) Louisville (16-3, 12-7 ATS)

Louisville, one of the hottest teams in the country, gears up for a Freedom Hall battle against Big East foe West Virginia, which has won four of its last five.

The Cardinals flattened South Florida 80-54 Wednesday night as a heavy 16½-point home chalk, posting their eighth consecutive SU victory while moving to 7-0 SU and ATS in Big East play. Despite playing in the loaded Big East, Louisville has won four of its last five games by double digits – including a home win over Notre Dame and a win at Syracuse – and has averaged 76.2 ppg in that span, while allowing just 61.2.

The Mountaineers ripped St. John’s 75-52 as an 18½-point home favorite Wednesday, bouncing back from Sunday’s 79-67 home loss to Pittsburgh as a one-point chalk. Three of West Virginia’s last four victories have been by double digits, with the lone exception a 62-59 home win over South Florida, and the Mountaineers are averaging 73.2 ppg in their last five outings, while giving up 64.8.

Louisville is 3-1 SU and 3-0-1 ATS in four meetings with West Virginia, winning and cashing each of the past two seasons, including a 63-54 home win last January as a two-point favorite.

The Cardinals sport several positive ATS streaks, including 7-0 after a SU win, 20-8 after a pointspread victory, 4-0 against winning teams, 9-3 on Saturday, 38-14-2 in the Big East and 10-4 after a SU win of more than 20 points. The Mountaineers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a win of more than 20 points, but they are also 2-5 ATS in their last seven overall and 1-4 ATS in their last five after a spread-cover.

The under for Louisville is on streaks of 18-8-1 at home, 4-1 on Saturday and 23-11-1 coming off a SU win, and the under is 6-2 in West Virginia’s last eight Saturday tilts.

ATS ADVANTAGE: LOUISVILLE and UNDER


Notre Dame (12-7, 4-9 ATS) at (3) Pittsburgh (18-2, 8-6-1 ATS)

Freefalling Notre Dame aims to halt a four-game losing skid, traveling to the Petersen Events Center to face Pittsburgh, which will look to bounce back from just its second loss of the year.

The Fighting Irish lost to No. 11 Marquette 71-64 Monday night as a 2½-point home favorite, their second consecutive home loss after a 45-game winning streak in South Bend. Notre Dame, now on an 0-4 SU and 0-5 ATS slide, has faced four ranked teams in a row (all in the Big East), averaging just 68 ppg – 10 points below its season average – while giving up 80 ppg, including road losses of 87-73 at Louisville in overtime and 93-74 at Syracuse two Saturdays ago.

Pittsburgh stumbled at Villanova 67-57 Wednesday laying 2½ points, halting a two-game SU and ATS uptick following the Panthers’ first loss of the year, a 69-63 setback at Louisville catching two points. Pitt has played three Big East home games thus far and has dominated all three, winning by an average score of 81-63, and for the season, the Panthers are 12-0 at home, shooting a solid 50.1 percent on their home floor while allowing just 39.3 percent from their opponents.

Notre Dame is 3-1 ATS (1-3 SU) in the last four clashes with the Panthers, winning 82-70 last February as a 4½-point home chalk. Additionally, the Irish are 5-1 ATS on their last six trips to Pittsburgh, and the road team is on a 5-1 ATS run in this rivalry.

Aside from those numbers, the Fighting Irish are on nothing but negative ATS streaks, including 0-5 in Big East action, 1-4 on the road, 0-6 on Saturday, 0-4 against teams with a win percentage above .600, 0-4 after a non-cover. The Panthers, meanwhile, are on ATS surges of 6-1 after a non-cover and 15-7-1 following a SU loss.

The over for Notre Dame is on rolls of 5-1 on the road, 4-0 against winning teams, 18-7 in conference play and 16-7 against teams with a win percentage greater than .600. The under has hit in Pitt’s last four Saturday starts, but the over is on runs for the Panthers of 11-4 at home, 13-5 in Big East action, 4-0 against winning teams and 10-1 at home versus teams with a losing road record. Finally, the total has gone high in each of the last four contests in this series.

ATS ADVANTAGE: PITTSBURGH and OVER


Michigan (14-7, 8-7-1 ATS) at (16) Purdue (16-4, 8-8 ATS)

After picking up a pair of road wins, surging Purdue returns home to take on Michigan in a Big Ten contest at Mackey Arena.

The Boilermakers followed up their 70-62 win at then-No. 21 Minnesota by squeaking past Wisconsin 64-63 Tuesday night, cashing as one-point underdogs in both contests to improve to 5-0 SU (4-1 ATS) in their last five starts. Purdue has shot 48.5 percent from the floor during the five-game winning streak, including an eye-catching 47.2 percent from 3-point range, and its defense has been just as impressive, yielding a stifling 35.8 percent shooting.

The Wolverines got bounced by Ohio State 72-54 Wednesday as a four-point road pup and are now 1-4 SU and ATS in their last five outings, following a 3-1 SU start in Big Ten play (2-2 ATS). Michigan has been held under 60 points in four of its last five games, averaging just 57.8 ppg in that stretch – well off its season mark of 69.0 – while giving up 67.0 ppg.

Purdue is on a 7-2 ATS roll (6-3 SU) in the last eight meetings in this rivalry, including a 72-58 road win last March as a 5½-point favorite, and the Boilermakers are 5-2 ATS in the last seven clashes with the Wolverines at Mackey Arena.

The Boilermakers are on a handful of ATS streaks, including 8-2 in Saturday games, 4-1 against winning teams, 26-9-1 inside the Big Ten and 20-9-1 after a spread-cover. The Wolverines have cashed in five of their last seven Saturday contests, but they are on an 11-27-2 ATS plunge on the road.

The over for Purdue is on runs of 4-0 overall (all in Big Ten play), 5-0 after a SU win and 7-0 after an ATS triumph. On the flip side, the under for Michigan is on tears of 4-1-1 overall (all in Big Ten play), 4-0 against winning teams, 10-2-1 on the highway and 7-3-1 after a SU loss, and in this rivalry, the total has stayed low in the last four meetings.

ATS ADVANTAGE: PURDUE


Houston (12-6, 8-6-1 ATS) at (18) Memphis (17-3, 12-7 ATS)

Scorching-hot Memphis goes after its 12th straight victory when it takes on Conference USA rival Houston at the Pyramid.

The Tigers ripped East Carolina 85-64 as a 16-point road chalk Wednesday, which followed their 54-52 win at SEC power Tennessee catching three points last Saturday. Memphis has cashed in its last four games and is 8-2 ATS in lined contests during its 11-game winning streak. The Tigers have steamrolled opponents at home all season, going 11-0 SU, winning by an average final score of 80.8-58.2 and shooting 45.1 percent at the Pyramid, while allowing opponents to hit at just a 35.3 percent clip.

The Cougars lost to Texas-El Paso 62-55 as a five-point home chalk Wednesday for their second consecutive SU and ATS setback, and they’ve followed a three-game win streak by going 1-3 SU and ATS. Houston is getting outscored on the road by about a bucket per game this season (79.5-77.7) and is shooting just 38.3 percent from the field on the highway, including a dismal 28.9 percent from three-point range.

Memphis has won its last seven contests against Houston but is just 3-4 ATS in those games, splitting the cash in two meetings last season. Houston is on a 10-1 ATS tear at the Pyramid and is 9-4 ATS in the last 13 meetings overall, and the road team is a stellar 16-2 ATS in the last 18 clashes.

The Tigers are on ATS upticks of 6-0 at home, 4-0 after a SU win, 5-1 after a spread-cover, 6-2 against winning teams and 5-2 in Conference USA play. The Cougars are on ATS runs of 4-1 after a SU loss and 4-1 after an ATS setback, but they are just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 conference affairs.

The under for Memphis is on streaks of 8-3 overall, 5-2 at home 6-1 against winning teams, 7-2 inside the conference, 8-3 after a spread-cover and 26-10 after a SU win of more than 20 points. In addition, the under is on a 9-1 run for Houston against winning teams, and in this rivalry, the under is on rolls of 9-1 overall and 6-0 in Memphis. However, the over for Houston is on stretches of 4-1 overall, 4-0 on the highway and 4-0 on the road against teams with a winning home mark.

ATS ADVANTAGE: MEMPHIS


(25) Georgetown (12-7, 6-8-1 ATS) at (8) Marquette (18-2, 8-6-1 ATS)

Marquette, which along with Louisville remains unbeaten in Big East Conference play, takes on a sliding Georgetown squad at the Bradley Center.

The Golden Eagles topped Notre Dame 71-64 Monday night as a 2½-point road pup for their 10th consecutive SU win (6-2-1 ATS in lined games) and their 13th victory in the last 14 games. Marquette has been racking up points throughout the 10-game surge, breaking 70 nine times, including three games in the 80s and two in the 90s. In their last five outings, all in conference play, Marquette bested opponents by an average of more than 10 ppg (79.4-69.0).

The Hoyas fell to Cincinnati 65-57 Wednesday as a 5½-point road ‘dog for their fourth loss in a row, including three consecutive SU and ATS setbacks to Big East foes. For the season, Georgetown has averaged 71.9 ppg and given up 62.7 ppg, but the Hoyas have broken 60 just once in the last four games, getting outscored by nearly 10 ppg (70.25-60.5).

Georgetown is 3-1 SU in the four meetings of this short-lived rivalry, dating to the 2005-06 season. The Hoyas have won the last three (2-0-1 ATS), including a 70-68 overtime victory as a four-point underdog last March in Milwaukee.

The Golden Eagles are on ATS binges of 6-2 overall, 13-5 in the Big East, 6-0 against teams with a win percentage above .600 and 6-2 after a SU win. Conversely, the Hoyas are on a bundle of ATS purges, including 1-6-1 overall, 0-5 after a SU loss, 1-4 after a pointspread setback, 1-6 in conference action, 1-5-1 against winning teams and 6-14-1 on Saturday.

The over for Marquette is on runs of 20-8 on Saturday and 5-1 after an ATS win, and the over is 5-1 in Georgetown last six on Saturday. But the under for the Hoyas is on streaks of 41-20 against Big East foes, 20-8 on the highway, 5-1 on the road against teams with a winning home record and 35-16-1 after a SU loss.

ATS ADVANTAGE: MARQUETTE


South Carolina (15-4, 6-7-1 ATS) at (24) Kentucky (16-5, 10-5-1 ATS)

Kentucky aims to bounce back from an upset loss on the road when it returns to Rupp Arena for an SEC contest against South Carolina.

The Wildcats fell at Mississippi 85-80 as a 9½-point road chalk Tuesday, halting a five-game SU and 4-1 ATS surge overall and a 3-0 SU and ATS roll on the road. Since a stunning home upset loss to Virginia Military Institute in its season opener, Kentucky has gone 12-1 at Rupp (5-3 ATS in lined games). For the season, the Wildcats have averaged 84.1 ppg at home and given up just 64.2, shooting nearly 15 percentage points better than their opponents (51.0-36.5).

The Gamecocks dropped Vanderbilt 86-76 as a six-point chalk Wednesday for their third consecutive win (1-1-1 ATS), all at home following road losses to LSU and Tennessee. South Carolina has been pretty competitive in its five road games this year (including one at a neutral site), averaging 79.0 ppg on 48.2 percent shooting, including a solid 40 percent from three-point range. However, the Gamecocks give up 77.2 ppg on 50.2 percent shooting on the highway.

Kentucky has won four in a row (3-1 ATS) and six of the last seven in this rivalry (4-3 ATS), but South Carolina is 4-1 ATS on its last five trips to Lexington. Also, the road team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven clashes, and the underdog has covered in seven of the last nine contests overall.

The Wildcats are on a plethora of positive pointspread streaks, including 9-3 overall, 5-2 at home, 14-6 in the SEC, 9-1 after a non-cover, 4-1 on Saturday, 7-2 against winning teams and 7-3 after a SU loss. The Gamecocks are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games following a SU win, but they are otherwise on spread-covering rolls of 5-2-1 in the SEC, 35-16 in their last 51 road affairs and 30-8 on the road against teams with a winning home mark.

The under is 9-3 in Kentucky’s last 12 Saturday starts and 13-5 in its last 18 conference tilts, but the over for the Wildcats is on a 12-2 tear against winning teams, and the over for South Carolina is on stretches of 14-2 against winning teams, 5-1 on the highway and 8-3 after a SU win. Finally, the total has cleared the posted price in 15 of the last 17 meetings in this rivalry and is 6-1 in the last seven clashes in Lexington.

ATS ADVANTAGE: KENTUCKY and OVER


Stanford (13-5, 13-4 ATS) at (17) UCLA (16-4, 9-10 ATS)

UCLA looks to knock off Stanford for the fifth straight time when it welcomes the Cardinal to Pauley Pavilion for a Pac-10 clash.

The Bruins have split their last four games, but they’re coming off Thursday’s 81-66 rout of Cal, easily cashing as a 10-point favorite to end an 0-3 ATS slide. All five UCLA starters scored in double figures and the Bruins shot a sizzling 55 percent from the field in posting their second-highest point total in Pac-10 play. One game after allowing a season-high 86 points in a loss at Washington, Ben Howland’s squad got back to its defensive ways and has now held 16 of 20 opponents to 66 points or less, including five of the last six.

Stanford has lost two in a row and four of its last five, including Thursday’s heartbreaking 70-69 loss at USC, as Lawrence Hill’s game-winning jump shot as time expired went in and out. The Cardinal lost their third one-point decision in their last six games, but they did cover as a 5½-point underdog, improving to 6-1 ATS in their last seven, including 3-0 ATS on the road, all in conference.

The Cardinal are just 3-5 in the Pac-10, but 6-2 ATS, while UCLA is 6-2 in league play (4-4 ATS).

UCLA is 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings with Stanford, including 4-0 (3-1 ATS) in the last four contests. Last season, the Bruins knocked off the Cardinal three times, prevailing 76-67 as a one-point road underdog, 77-67 in overtime as an 8½-point home chalk and 67-64 in the Pac-10 tournament championship game, coming up just short as a 3½-point favorite. However, Stanford has cashed in seven of the last 10 meetings in Los Angeles.

Since failing to cover in their first game of the season, the Cardinal have gone 13-3 ATS, including 5-0 ATS on the road, 3-0 as an underdog and 6-0 ATS after a SU loss. Stanford is also 4-1 ATS in its last five Saturday contests and 21-8 ATS in its last 29 versus winning teams. UCLA is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 against winning teams, but 3-7 ATS in its last 10 on Saturday and 1-5 ATS in its last six after a spread-cover.

For the Bruins, the over is on streaks of 3-0 overall (all in Pac-10 play), 7-0 against winning teams and 10-4 on Saturday. For Stanford, the over is on stretches of 14-5 in Pac-10 play, 11-2 on the road and 6-0 against winning teams. Lastly, the over has hit in each of the last six meetings between these schools, and eight of the last 10 clashes in Los Angeles have topped the total.

ATS ADVANTAGE: STANFORD and OVER


(23) Washington (15-5, 11-7 ATS) at (14) Arizona State (16-4, 10-6 ATS)

Two teams coming off disappointing upset losses on Thursday get together at Wells-Fargo Arena in the desert, with Arizona State hosting Washington.

The Sun Devils went off as an 11-point home chalk against Washington State on Thursday, only to fall 65-55 to end a modest two-game SU and ATS run and fall to 5-3 SU and ATS in conference Arizona State’s offense has been virtually nonexistent lately, averaging only 54.5 ppg while shooting just 36.4 percent over the past four contests. On the bright side, the Sun Devils are giving up just 54.5 ppg on 38.4 percent shooting in their last six outings, going 4-2 SU and ATS during this stretch.

Washington had a four-game winning streak (3-1 ATS) halted in Thursday’s 106-97 loss at Arizona as a one-point road chalk, moving to 6-2 in the Pac-10 (4-4 ATS). The Huskies, who hadn’t scored or given up more than 88 points all year, allowed Arizona to shoot 52 percent from the field, including 9-for-20 from three-point range. The Huskies are averaging 85.6 ppg in their last seven contests, all against Pac-10 foes, and they’ve scored more than 80 points in 11 of their last 14 contests.

These teams split their two meetings last year, with Washington taking a 72-61 home win as a 5½-point road underdog and ASU getting revenge with a 77-63 victory as a five-point pup in Seattle, snapping an 11-game SU losing skid in this rivalry. The Huskies are 5-0 SU and ATS in their last five visits to Tempe, and the visitor has cashed in five of the last six head-to-head battles.

The SU winner is 9-0 ATS in Arizona State’s last nine contests, including 8-0 ATS in Pac-10 action, and the winner has cashed in 14 of Washington’s 18 lined games this season. Also, the winner is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings in this rivalry.

Washington is on positive pointspread streaks of 4-1 on the highway, 4-0 after a SU loss, 5-1 after a non-cover and 5-1 on Saturday, but it has failed to cover in four of its last five against winning teams. The Sun Devils carry positive ATS runs 5-2 at home, 8-3-1 against the Pac-10, 6-1 after a SU loss, 8-0 after a non-cover, 5-1 when playing on Saturday and 7-3 as a favorite of three points or more.

The Huskies have topped the total in seven straight games overall and the “over” is on further runs for the team of 13-3 against league foes, 9-2 on the road, 11-2 on Saturday and 4-0 after a non-cover. Conversely, ASU is on “under” stretches of 5-1 overall, 4-1 against winning teams and 20-8 after an outright defeat. Lastly, four of the last five series meetings have stayed under the total.

ATS ADVANTAGE: WASHINGTON

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Re: Saturday Service Plays

Baylor (15-5, 6-6 ATS) at Missouri (17-4, 7-7 ATS)

Free-falling Baylor will try to get back on track when it pays a visit to Mizzou Arena for Big 12 showdown with Missouri.

The Bears have lost two in a row and four of their last seven, going 2-5 ATS during this stretch. On Tuesday, Baylor gave No. 11 Texas a good fight but still came up short 78-72 as a 1½-point home favorite. While the Bears have scored at least 72 points in every game this season, they’ve surrendered 82.8 ppg on 46.6 percent shooting in their last five, giving up 78 or more in four of those contests.

The Tigers started the Big 12 season with a 56-51 loss at Nebraska, then ripped off four straight conference victories (averaging 94.5 ppg in the process). However, the winning streak ended in Wednesday’s ugly 88-72 loss at Kansas State as a three-point road chalk. Missouri has allowed 88, 86 and 95 points in its last three games after giving up an average of just 54.8 ppg in their previous four contests.

Baylor has won the last two meetings in this rivalry, including last year’s 100-89 victory. The Bears covered as a five-point home favorite in that contest, improving to 8-0 ATS in the last eight series clashes, including 4-0 ATS when visiting Columbus and 7-1 ATS as an underdog.

Although Baylor has failed to cash in five of its last seven, it is 14-6 ATS in its last 20 road games, 5-2 ATS in its last seven on Saturday and 3-1 ATS as an underdog this year. The Tigers are mired in a slew of pointspread funks, including 9-19 overall, 15-37-1 in the Big 12, 17-35-1 on Saturday, 1-4 as a single-digit favorite, 5-12 against winning teams and 2-7 after a non-cover.

Both teams average more than 80 points per game, so it’s no surprise that the “over” is on streaks of 23-7 for Baylor overall, 13-3 for Baylor on the road, 38-16 for Baylor in Big 12 play, 20-6 for Baylor on Saturday, 10-2 for Baylor after a SU loss, 4-1 for the Tigers overall, 7-3 for the Tigers at home and 9-3 for the Tigers after a non-cover. Also, the last two meetings in this rivalry have topped the total.

ATS ADVANTAGE: BAYLOR and OVER


Florida (18-3, 6-7-1 ATS) at Tennessee (12-7, 7-9-1 ATS)

Two SEC rivals headed in completely different directions get together at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, with streaking Florida taking on slumping Tennessee in a prime-time matchup.

The Gators are coming off a pair of blowout wins over Vanderbilt (94-69 as a one-point road favorite) and Georgia (83-57 as a 16-point home chalk). Florida is 12-1 in its last 13 games, with nine of those wins coming by double digits, and the lone loss was a buzzer-beating 70-69 setback at South Carolina as a one-point underdog. Also, Billy Donovan’s squad is 4-0-1 ATS in its last five games after starting the season 2-7 against the number. The Gators have held 10 straight opponents to 70 points or less while scoring 68 points or more in 13 consecutive contests.

Tennessee, once ranked in the Top 25, has lost two in a row and five of its last eight, going 2-6 ATS during this slide. The Vols followed up last Saturday’s 54-52 loss to rival Memphis as a three-point home favorite with Wednesday’s 79-73 loss to LSU as a 7½-point home chalk. Tennessee has lost four of its last five at Thompson-Boling Arena (0-5 ATS) after previously running off 37 consecutive home victories.

Florida is 5-1 in the SEC (4-0-1 ATS), including 2-1 on the road (2-0-1 ATS). Tennessee is just 3-2 in league play (2-3 ATS), including 2-2 SU and ATS at home.

The Vols have won three in a row (3-0 ATS) and five of the last six (5-1 ATS) in this rivalry. Last year in Knoxville, Tennessee smoked the Gators 104-82 as a 9½-point home chalk, their second straight double-digit home win over Florida. The Vols are 6-1 in the last seven matchups at home, and the SU winner has covered the spread in each of the last 10 head-to-head battles.

In addition to its 4-0-1 overall ATS run, Florida is 4-1-1 ATS in its last six road games and 15-6-1 ATS in its last 22 after a non-cover. The Vols’ pointspread funks include 0-5 at home, 1-4 on Saturday, 2-5 against the SEC and 2-5 after a SU loss.

The last four meetings in this series have gone over the total, and the over for Tennessee is on stretches of 5-2 in SEC action, 5-2 on Saturday and 4-0 against winning teams. On the flip side, the Gators are on “under” streaks of 5-2 overall, 4-1 on the road, 5-0 on Saturday, 18-6-1 after a SU victory and 9-2 after a victory of more than 20 points.

ATS ADVANTAGE: FLORIDA


NBA

New Orleans (28-15, 19-22-2 ATS) at San Antonio (31-14, 21-23-1 ATS)

The Spurs make a quick stop at home when they go for their third straight victory as they host the Hornets in a key Southwest Division matchup.

San Antonio opened a three-game road trip with Sunday’s 99-85 loss at the Lakers, but it rebounded to knock off the Jazz (106-100) and Suns (114-104), cashing as a one-point favorite in Utah and a 1½-point underdog in Phoenix. The Spurs, who go back on the road for an eight-game trip after tonight, have won three in a row and 12 of the last 14 at the AT&T Center, but they’re just 2-7 ATS in their last nine as a host.

New Orleans suffered a stunning 91-84 home loss to the Warriors on Friday, losing outright as a 9½-point favorite. The Hornets are still 6-2 in their last eight games (4-4 ATS), scoring at least 100 points in four of the last six. However, they’ve alternated SU and ATS wins and losses in their last eight road games, with the most recent roadie ending in a 116-108 loss at Minnesota as a one-point road underdog.

The season’s first meeting between these division rivals came on Dec. 17 in New Orleans, with the Hornets earning a 90-83 victory as a two-point home chalk. Including last year’s Western Conference playoff series, the home team is on a 9-0 SU and ATS roll in this rivalry, with the Spurs going 4-0 SU and ATS at home. Also, the favorite has cashed in seven of the last eight meetings.

New Orleans is on pointspread streaks of 4-0-1 in divisional play, 48-20-3 on Saturday and 30-12-3 when playing on back-to-back nights, but Byron Scott’s team is just 2-8 ATS as an underdog this season. The Spurs are 11-5-1 ATS in their last 17 contests played on one day of rest, but 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 on Saturday.

The under is 5-0 in the last five series meetings overall. Also, the under is on streaks of 5-2 for the Spurs overall, 9-4 for the Spurs against Southwest Division rivals, 5-0 for the Spurs against winning teams, 8-2 for the Hornets against divisional rivals and 5-0 for the Hornets versus winning teams. On the other hand, the over is on stretches of 6-2 for San Antonio at home, 6-2-1 for San Antonio on Saturday, 6-2 for New Orleans against the Western Conference, 5-1-1 for New Orleans on the road and 9-4-2 for New Orleans on Saturday.

ATS ADVANTAGE: SAN ANTONIO


Utah (26-21, 23-24 ATS) at Portland (28-17, 23-22 ATS)

The Blazers put a three-game SU and ATS winning streak on the line when they host the Jazz in a battle between Northwest Division rivals at the Rose Garden.

Portland has been idle since Wednesday’s 88-74 victory over Charlotte as an 11½-point home favorite. The Blazers have won their last three games by margins of 13, 25 and 14 points, covering as a significant favorite in all three. Portland is 8-3 in its last 11 games (7-4 ATS), including 5-1 at home (4-2 ATS), and the SU winner is 22-1 ATS in its last 23, including 10-0 ATS in the last 10.

Utah snapped a four-game losing skid with Friday’s 110-90 blowout of Oklahoma City, ending a six-game ATS slide as it covered as a 10-point home favorite. The Jazz are still just 2-8 ATS in their last 10, and they’ve lost eight of their last nine on the highway, going 1-5 ATS in their last six as a visitor. Despite holding the Thunder to 90 points last night, Utah’s defense has been abysmal of late, giving up more than 100 points in six of its last seven games and eight of the last 10, allowing an average of 106.3 ppg during this 10-game stretch.

The Jazz have defeated Portland twice this season – 103-96 as a 6½-point favorite and 97-88 as a three-point chalk – but both contests were in Salt Lake City. The host has won nine of the last 10 in this rivalry (8-2 ATS), going 5-0 SU and ATS in the last five. The Blazers have won and covered in four straight meetings at the Rose Garden.

Utah’s ATS funks include 1-6 overall, 1-5 on the highway, 1-5 against the Western Conference, 1-5 versus the Northwest Division, 0-5 versus winning teams and 1-4 when playing on back-to-back nights. Meanwhile, even though Portland is on ATS runs of both 4-1 overall and 4-1 at home, the Blazers have failed to cover in four straight games against teams with a winning record and they’ve come up short in five of their last seven against divisional foes.

For Portland, the under is on runs of 6-2 at home, 5-0 against the Northwest Division, 49-24 versus the Western Conference, 4-1 against winning teams and 4-1 when going on two days’ rest. The under is also 6-1 in Utah’s last seven against winning teams, but otherwise the Jazz carry “over” stretches of 5-2 overall, 5-2 as a visitor, 9-3 against the Western Conference and 4-1 on Saturday. Finally, the under is 3-0 in the last three series meetings in Portland.

ATS ADVANTAGE: PORTLAND

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Cajun Sports

Georgetown vs. Marquette     
Play: Marquette -6

Al McGuire Court at the Bradley Center will be the site of this Big East battle between the host Marquette Golden Eagles and the visiting Georgetown Hoyas. The Hoyas enter today’s contest losers of four straight and 0-3-1 against the spread since losing at Duke. A much different story for their host as the Golden Eagles have won ten straight games and have posted a record of 6-2-1 against the spread during that ten game winning streak. All the winning began for the Golden Eagles after they suffered a road loss at Tennessee back on December 16th, since that loss they have really played well.

The Hoyas are certainly not catching a break here and this bureau believes their losing streak will continue for at least one more game with Rutgers on deck the Hoyas should succeed in ending this streak on Tuesday night in our nation’s capital.

Georgetown’s pace has prevented them from being able to make up ground once they fall behind a quality opponent and if that happens here today against this Marquette team it will be a long afternoon for the boys from D.C. The Golden Eagles do a great job of using penetration off their dribble and this will cause the Hoyas problems in the paint especially if they get into early foul trouble.

Georgetown is 12-7 SU and 6-8 against the number this season. The road has not been kind to the Hoyas with them posting a record of 3-5 SU and 2-5 ATS this year. Big East play has been just as bad if not worse with the Hoyas going 3-5 SU and only 2-6 ATS averaging 67.5 points per game and allowing 70.0 points per game in conference play this season.

The Golden Eagles are 18-2 SU and 8-6 against the spread this year. When playing on their home floor they are a perfect 13-0 SU and 4-3 ATS. Marquette has also been perfect in Conference play so far this season posting a record of 7-0 SU and a solid 5-2 against the number. The Eagles are averaging 84.0 points per game at home versus teams that only allow 68.6 points per game and defensively the Eagles are holding opponents to 64.7 points per game and this is versus teams that average scoring 70.4 points per game.

A check of the data base shows that the Hoyas are 4-13 ATS after losing three straight games, if they are playing with a line range of 7 to 10 points their record is 0-5 ATS. If the Hoyas are installed as an underdog their record is 1-7 ATS. We also see that Georgetown is 11-23 ATS after losing their last two games against the spread and now face a conference opponent. If the Hoyas are installed as an underdog they are 3-11 ATS their last 14 in this situation.

With strong fundamental, situational and technical support for the host we will back the Golden Eagles on Saturday as they send the Hoyas back to D.C. with five straight losses.

PROJECTED FINAL SCORE: (2*) Marquette Eagles 84 Georgetown Hoyas 66

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Bob Harvey

Xavier -16

10th ranked Xavier brings all sorts of glossy numbers into today’s game against U-Mass. Xavier is 18-2 on the year, including a 9-1 SU record at home and 9-1 SU on the road. They’re also on a sparkling 8-0 ATS run.

Xavier has opened Atlantic 10 play 6-0, its best start since the 2001-02 season. They’ve alsO won 19 straight at home. Are you sold yet?

Xavier finished 12-2 in non-conference play this season, beating the likes of LSU, Memphis, Virginia Tech, Missouri, Auburn, Miami (Ohio), Cincinnati and Virginia. Their defense has held 14 of its first 20 opponents to under 40.0 percent shooting from the field and only Duke shot over 42 percent against XU this season.

The Musketeer’s boast a three-headed monster in Derek Brown, C.J. Anderson and B.J. Raymond. All three players are all capable of putting up double-double type numbers.

U-Mass comes in with a record of 7-11 overall, 2-3 in conference play and 1-7 ATS in their last eight outings. The Minutemen are also 1-6 ATS in their last seven road outings.

Xavier's defense will be the difference in this one. U-Mass will be lucky to score more than 45 points in this one.

Lay the lumber and take the X-Men.

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JIM FEIST

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS at WASHINGTON WIZARDS
Take: LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

There is good news for the Clippers this week -- very good news. Baron Davis and Marcus Camby returned to the lineup against the Bulls. Camby had been out a little less than two weeks because of a sprained left ankle and had six points and six rebounds. "Right now, we need Baron to be in attack mode," Mike Dunleavy said "Penetrating and making plays. We know there's going to be some rust but the playmaking ability is there." Eric Gordon and Al Thornton have shouldered the scoring burden of late, so having Davis and Camby back makes them much better and deeper. And they take on a Washington team that has already packed in the season, on a recent 0-4 SU/ATS run, losing by 20, 13, 16 and 22 points. Play the Clippers.

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Dave Cokin

Miami Fla @ Maryland
Play: Miami Fla Pk

Both Miami and Maryland are in less than stellar form right now, but I think it's a lot worse for the Terrapins. Their psyche appears very fragile presently. After getting annihilated at Duke last weekend, the Terps looked good for the first half against Boston College. But as soon as they experienced some adversity, they fell apart and were about as bad as it gets in the closing minutes of that loss. Miami has also lost a couple in a row but I think the 'Canes are in much better position to bounce back. Miami is the free Saturday opinion.

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James Patrick Sports

Florida vs. Tennessee

The Volunteers need a win and the Gators come to Knoxville with a 1-6 ATS mark on this court and we'll take Tennessee Volunteers as our Saturday selection.

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Jimmy The Moose

Pittsburgh Penguins at Toronto Maple Leafs
Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins

The struggling Penguins get just what the doctor ordered in tonight's game vs. the Maple Leafs. Not much has been going right for Pittsburgh but in this one they face a Leafs team that is battling for last place in the league. Toronto did win their lats game but they are still only 2-8 in their last 10 overall. In their last 7 vs. Eastern Conference opponents the Leafs are 1-6. Toronto has lost 4 straight at home. Toronto will have a tough time vs. the talented Penguins. Play on the Pittsburgh Penguins -.

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Matt Fargo

Georgetown @ Marquette
PICK: Marquette

Marquette is proving to the rest of the Big East that it is going to be right in the mix of things come season end. The Golden Eagles picked up its third Big East win against a ranked opponent with a very impressive win at Notre Dame on Monday night. It is flying high right now as it is 7-0 in the Big East and also a perfect 12-0 at home this season. What I really like about this team right now is that it is not getting worn down in the rugged Big East as the schedule has been the tamest of all conference teams. This game against Georgetown will be only the Golden Eagles fifth game over the last 21 days. They will have played four straight Saturdays with only one weekday game in the entire mix and that was this past one on Monday against the Irish. You are not going to find many well rested teams during conference time but when you do, it is time to strike. Georgetown is clearly in a down year. The Hoyas started the season an impressive 10-1 including a big win against Memphis and opening Big East play with an even bigger win at Connecticut. It has not gone well since then however as the Hoyas have dropped six of their last eight games including all four on the road. It is coming off a loss at Cincinnati but the one prior to that was the worst as it lost in Seton Hall giving the then 0-6 Pirates their first Big East victory of the season. Georgetown is a young team and staying patient in the offense, which is the most important factor in the system, has been a real problem. Unlike Marquette, there is no rest for Georgetown who will be playing its fourth game in nine days in four different venues so the travel aspect is definitely not in its favor. Georgetown is known for being strong on the boards but that has not been the case this season as it is -0.9 rpg in rebounding margin on the year. Marquette meanwhile is +3.8 rpg in margin and the offensive end could make a huge difference here. Marquette is grabbing offensive rebounds at a 36.8 percent clip while Georgetown is at 34.5 percent. On the defensive end, the Hoyas allow opponents to grab offensive boards 38.1 percent of the time compared to only 31.2 percent for Marquette. Those are huge variances and ones that are not typical for a normal Georgetown team. The Golden Eagles also have a solid edge in taking care of the ball. The Hoyas have a respectable 0.98 assist/turnover ratio which is 143rd in the nation but still above average especially with the tough schedule it has played. Marquette has also played a rugged slate and has posted a ratio of 1.33 which is good for 13th in the country. Part of the reason for this success is that the Golden Eagles turn the ball over only 16.8 percent of the time on offense which is 2nd in the Big East and 10th in the nation. Georgetown’s rankings are 12th and 165th respectively. Some can argue the time off can hurt the momentum but in this conference, it is a welcome break and Marquette keeps rolling along. 3* Marquette Golden Eagles

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Jeff Benton

I’ve got two rock-solid 5 Dime Big East plays available for purchase today, and my freebie also comes from what is arguably the nation’s top conference, as we’ll take Providence plus the double-digit points against UConn in an afternoon affair.

If the Huskies win this game today, they’re going to become the fifth team in the last five weeks to grab hold of the No. 1 ranking. But if I were UConn, I wouldn’t start celebrating just yet, because Providence has given the Huskies absolute fits in recent years. The Friars have pulled off three straight outright upsets in this rivalry the last two years, and none was really close. Providence won 84-72 as an eight-point road favorite in 2007 and 77-65 as a nine-point road ‘dog last season, followed six weeks later by an 85-76 rout as a five-point home ‘dog.

And if you go back to 2003, Providence is 5-2 SU and ATS against the Huskies, all as an underdog, including four straight upset wins on UConn’s court!

Now, you would think given this enormous pointspread that this is a down year for the Friars. Not so. They have a better team this season than they did the last two years when they took down UConn, and they’ve won seven of their last nine games overall, going 5-1 ATS in the last six. That includes Wednesday’s 100-94 win over 15th-ranked Syracuse as a two-point home favorite. The 100-point output wasn’t all that surprising, as Providence is one of the top scoring teams in the country, averaging 80.6 points per game on 46.4 percent shooting.

Obviously, the Friars will have a hard time matching those numbers today, as UConn plays tremendous defense, allowing just 61.8 ppg (38.3 percent). However, the Huskies are just 1-4 ATS in their last five home games, including 1-3 ATS hosting Big East foes so far, giving up 74 points in a loss to Georgetown and 83 points in a six-point win over Villanova.

Providence, which goes eight deep on its roster (those eight average between 17 and 28 minutes) and features four players that average in double figures, definitely has the ability to hang within this big price. Grab the generous points.

4♦ PROVIDENCE

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Matt Rivers

For Saturday take the number with the Fighting Irish.

The last few weeks have certainly beeen a complete debacle for Mike Brey's boys from South Bend as Notre Dame has now dropped four in a row both SU and ATS with all of this all coming after the terrible overall 14 point overtime loss at Louisville. A fifth straight loss is more than likely in the cards here as well for the visiting Irish as the Pitt Panthers are flat out awesome, even with that last loss at Villanova, but I do believe that ND is going to lay it on the line and be competitive.

Brey called that 6am practice after that last loss to Marquette and if that doesn't get the players' attention than nothing will. It's not like the Irish are not a talented team as Luke Harnagody is a total star and this team can shoot the lights out from beyond the arc. No doubt these guys went from a top 10 or so team to pretty much a bubble team at best at this moment but this gaudy price is still a bit much even with DeJuan Blair and the Panthers being a great overall squad that is lethal on their home court.

Notre Dame has beaten both Texas and Georgetown this season and have not just all of a sudden lost it. They are in a rough stretch for sure and the confidence is far from being at an all-time high but with their still solid weapons in Harangody, Kyle McAlarney, Tory Jackson, Zach Hillesland and others I can't help but grab such a healthy number. They can still score points with the best of them and should be alright here.

At some point the Fighting Irish will fight again and at this price I'm willing to take my chances this is that day!

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Jake Timlin

I'm on a 14-5 comp play run - including 6 of 7 - following Friday's winner on the Cavaliers.

Today I'm going to back Davidson against Samford. No team in the Southern Conference is good enough to challenge the Wildcats this year and that trend will continue they complete a season sweep of Samford.

Davidson is 9-0 SU in conference play, covering four straight and five of six.

The Wildcats destroyed Samford at home earlier this year 76-55. There's no chance they don't do the same in today's road rematch, rolling by at least 20 points.

PICK: Davidson Wildcats

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Karl Garrett

Ole Miss at MISSISSIPPI STATE -9

G-Man enters Saturday on a 5-1 free play run!

In college buckets I smell a blowout on the horizon in Starkville, as Miss State takes their dominant 11-2 home mark out for a spin against in-state rival Ole Miss.

The Bulldogs have gone 6-2 against the spread in lined home games, and they have also won, and covered Ole Miss' last 2 visits to Starkville, winning both by double-digits.

Ole Miss is off a satisfying home upset win over Kentucky, and the G-Man feels pretty strongly the Rebels will be caught still celebrating that upset when they set foot on the hardwood today.

With the Rebels just 2-7 straight up on the highway, look for this one to get away from them early.

G-Man laying the wood with the host Bulldogs, as they blowout Ole Miss in this Saturday matinee in the SEC.

1♦ MISSISSIPPI STATE

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Sports Gambling Hotline

Oklahoma State at TEXAS A&M -2' 

Have to look at the in-season revenge angle today in the Big 12, as Texas A&M looks to repay a 72-61 loss at Stillwater 3 weeks ago today at home.

Not only did A&M lose this season's first meeting, but Oklahoma State handed the Aggies a 59-54 loss at College Station last February. It is rare when the Aggies lose on their home hardwood, and we expect them to remember well those last 2 series meetings, and pay them back in full today.

Oklahoma State comes into this one off their Monday home loss to Oklahoma, while Texas A&M snapped a 3-game slide with the home win and cover over Texas Tech to improve to 16-5 for the year.

The Aggies win over Texas Tech came after losses to Big 12 heavyweights Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. We expect Mark Turgeon's team to continue to get healthy against the middle of the Big 12-pack Cowboys today on their home hardwood, as they avenge a pair of series losses with the win, and cover today.

Play on Texas A&M.

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TIM TRUSHEL

OKLAHOMA STATE AT TEXAS A&M
Recommendation: Texas A&M

It could be argued that the Aggies have faced the most difficult conference schedule of any Big XII team. At 1-4 the results have been disappointing but perhaps not unexpected. They have played two home games, splitting with a win over Baylor and a hard fought six-point loss to Oklahoma. One the road they are 0-3 with losses at Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma State. In essence their conference schedule has featured five of the six top teams in the conference. This week, with some home cooking, they should get a chance to post a couple of wins. Mid-week they host Texas Tech and with a projected win they should come in confident. As an added bonus, based on the numbers, we expect A&M to be installed as a slight home underdog. Oklahoma State will enter this game off a contest against their rival Oklahoma. Off either a win or a loss, we would expect the focus to be less than 100% on the road against an opponent they have already beaten. On the other side of the equation, there will be plenty of motivation as Josh Carter, the Aggies’ leading scorer, was held scoreless in the first meeting. The Aggies will improve upon the 4-of-17 from three point range and with all else being equal, they should have more than enough to earn the win.


ED CASH

WASHINGTON AT ARIZONA STATE
Recommendation: Arizona State

Lorenzo Romar’s Washington Huskies begin the week atop the league standings at 6-1; one game up on Arizona State, Cal and UCLA. But while the Huskies currently serve as the team to beat in the PAC-10 after sweeping both LA schools, a win against Arizona on Thursday will provide us with a tremendous play on the home team, Arizona State. Washington has done most of its damage at home this season,with road wins coming against Oregon, Oregon State and Washington State -- all of which have losing league records. Arizona State has achieved its 5-2 conference mark largely on the road. They have played just two home games against the Oregon schools, both easy wins, while going 3-2 on the road against Cal, Stanford, Arizona, USC and UCLA. I expect the Sun Devils to be able to handle Washington with ease, especially if the Huskies beat a slumping Arizona team on Thursday. Even with a loss, Arizona State should be a solid play as they are the better team and have a tremendous home court edge.


MARTY OTTO

NEW MEXICO AT UTAH
Recommendation: Utah

Home teams have ruled the roost in the Mountain West Conference, routinely winning SU and covering spreads. The Utah Utes have been doing it in impressive fashion at home going 6-1 SU thus far while winning by an average margin of 16 ppg. They beat a very good Gonzaga club as an underdog and blew out LSU by 30. The Utes will be in a position to potentially sit atop the conference standings if they knock off both BYU and New Mexico this week. The fundamental edges start on the front line where New Mexico simply doesn’t have an answer for 7-2 center Luke Nevill. Nevill is second in scoring and first in rebounding in the MWC. He provides the Utes with a player teams like New Mexico just can’t match up against. He is aided on the glass by Shaun Green and Carlon Brown who both rank in the top 10 in the MWC in rebounding. Look for Utah to control the glass (+9.5 rebound margin, 1st MWC), a real key in what figures to be an intense defensive contest. With the lead we can then watch Utah salt away the victory with the league’s top free throw percentage, helping secure what should be a nice win and cover.


HELMUT SPORTS

NEBRASKA AT TEXAS TECH
Recommendation: Under

The Red Raiders are still playing very up-tempo this season ranking No. 13 in the nation in pace/tempo. The Huskers are the slowest paced team in the Big XII and have a knack for slowing down these fast paced teams, as games against up-tempo conference opponents, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Missouri, all played under 135 total possessions. The Huskers have been very good on defense this season holding opponents to 41.5% from the field and an average of 57.8 ppg. They have an excellent defensive efficiency (90.0, 19th in nation) not only due to the FG% defense but because they are quite good at causing turnovers nearly 18 per game. The Red Raiders have been playing poorly on offense. In their last eight games they have shot 42.3% from the field, averaged 67.6 ppg and turned it over nearly 18 times per game. The Huskers’ offense has taken a dip since the beginning of conference play as they have only shot 40.4% from the field and have also played poorly on the road, shooting just 37.8% in five games. Although the Red Raiders’ defense is not great the Huskers have shown no ability to score on the road and have not done well on offense since the end of the non-conference schedule.


DONNIE BLACK

UAB AT MARSHALL
Recommendation: Marshall

Despite a slew of suspensions, ineligible players and a depleted bench, UAB has managed to persevere while currently residing in the upper-half of the C-USA standings at 3-2. But while the remaining roster has been able to keep the ship afloat, the Blazers could be in for a wake-up call starting Wednesday. After playing three straight at home, UAB travels to a tough Tulsa venue before making the trek to Huntington on Saturday to face Marshall. The Thundering Herd are your typical mediocre C-USA unit who struggle on the road but hold enough of a home court advantage to be considered playable. On the season, Marshall is 8-1 at home with a lone loss to 14-5 East Tennessee State. A concern with Marshall is lack of size with its tallest contributing player checking in at 6-8. However, UAB isn’t overwhelming in the front court and has actually been outrebounded on the season which should help our cause. In looking at the last two years of the series, Marshall lost at UAB by 13 and 19 but emerged victorious at home – both times as a small underdog. We expect the Herd to be catching points once again this weekend as UAB and its thin roster play the second of back-to-back road games


BRENT CROW

GEORGETOWN AT MARQUETTE
Recommendation: Marquette

The Hoyas have dropped three in a row entering this week’s games at Cincinnati and Marquette. They are just 2-5 SU since beating UConn to open Big East play and the general feeling is that this is who the Hoyas are rather than a team going through a mid-season funk. Georgetown struggles from the outside and has not executed the Princeton offense as well as years past. The Hoyas also lack depth, with center Greg Monroe receiving little help from a bench that has just one player averaging more than 5 ppg. Teams seem to be figuring out how to defend the Hoyas as well, with minimal efforts of 58 against West Virginia and 60 at Seton Hall in their last two losses. They will definitely have to score plenty to keep pace with Marquette and its outstanding three-guard attack. The Eagles average 81.5 ppg and are unbeaten on their home court this season.Guards Wesley Matthews and Jerel McNeal are both having tremendous seasons, averaging 19.2 and 18.9 ppg, respectively. Lazar Hayward has also emerged this season, notching 16.5 ppg and 8.8 rpg to give Marquette another solid weapon. Look for them to hand the Hoyas another loss on Saturday.


ROB VENO

NEW ORLEANS AT SAN ANTONIO
Recommendation: Under

Head coach Gregg Popovich’s recent outburst on the lack of defense being played by his Spurs is becoming a sentiment echoed by his players. Sixth-man Manu Ginoboli expressed similar concerns after a 14-point loss to the Lakers. With the entire Spurs team expected to be on the same page and determined to improve their defense, the erratic offense of New Orleans will likely have trouble posting a substantial point total. The Hornets’ 96.3 ppg ranks 24th in the league and they’ll be challenged by the focused Spurs’ defense for the full 48 minutes. However, the New Orleans defense has been a constant all season long as they’ve thoroughly committed themselves on that end of the floor, ranking third in the league while allowing just 93.1 ppg. The defensive intensityand methodical offensive possessions figure to be at a playoff-type peak here between these divisional rivals who sit first and second in the Southwest, separated by just 1.5 games. The last meeting back on December 17 saw just 173 points scored and I look for more of the same here in the rematch where the total should open in the 188-189 range.

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POINTWISE

COLLEGE KEY RELEASES

WESTERN MICHIGAN over Kent St (Sat) RATING: 1
LSU over Arkansas (Sat) RATING: 1
AUBURN over Vanderbilt (Sat) RATING: 4
ST BONAVENTURE over Duquesne (Sat) RATING: 5

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Jimmy Boyd

1 Unit on Baylor +6.5

Condensed writeup due to amount of games to handicap.  I'll take Baylor and the points as I have this one going right down to the wire.  After tough losses to Oklahoma and Texas , Baylor will be ready to bounce back Saturday.  Baylor is 3-0 ATS in the last 3 in this series and 11-1 ATS in the last 12.  The road has been kind to Baylor the past two season as the Bears are 13-5 ATS in road games when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons.  The key here is Baylor's ability to knock down the three as nothing has hurt the Tigers worse.  Mizzou is 6-18 ATS versus teams who make 8 or more 3 point shots/game on the season since 1997.  Take the points.

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Marc Lawrence

Play On: Phoenix Suns

When Phoenix plays host to Chicago in this non-conference clash in the desert Saturday night it will be with revenge from a loss 17-point loss suffered as 4.5-point favorites at Chicago earlier this season. With the Bulls off 19-point (last night) and 20-point wins in their last two games and the Suns off a 10-point home loss, look for Phoenix to get back on the win track at Chicago's expense here tonight.

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