Sunday, February 11, 2006
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Yesterday our Big 10 Game of the Year on Minnesota leads us to a 3-2 Wise Guy mark, keeping us above 58 percent since Thanksgiving Day 2004, the demarcation point from where our mastery of modern technology made the gap between us and the rest of the industry insurmountable.
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Here are news and notes from Godspicks.com private clipboard. They are compiled from hometown newspapers and the team’s own press releases.
At 18-3, Pitt plays its second straight home game after defeating No. 9 West Virginia 57-53 Thursday evening. The win ceased Pitt’s two-game road losing streak to the likes of No. 1 Connecticut (80-76) and No. 17 Georgetown (61-58). Pitt faced three straight nationally ranked opponents in No. 9 West Virginia, No. 17 Georgetown and No. 1 Connecticut. The Panthers are 4-2 vs. nationally ranked opponents this year after defeating No. 9 West Virginia, No. 24 Wisconsin, No. 10 Louisville and No. 25 Syracuse. Pitt enters the contest with an undefeated 14-0 home record this season. It is attempting to complete its season undefeated at home for just the fourth season in school history. Its current 14-game home win streak ranks tied for third among the school’s all-time longest home win streaks. Pitt is a sterling 62-5 with a .925 winning percentage in the four-year-old Petersen Events Center. Pitt also owns a 25-4 regular season record vs. Big East East opponents in the Petersen Events Center.
NC State-GA Tech
With its longest losing streak since the 1980-81 season now at eight games, Georgia Tech returns home to face the team that began the slide, NC State. NC State (19-4, 8-2 ACC), ranked No. 16 in the AP poll, comes to Atlanta with its best start under head coach Herb Sendek, having won four straight games to solidify its hold on second place in the ACC race. The Wolfpack has won those four games by an average of six points, with two of those needing two overtimes each to decide. The Yellow Jackets’ have fared better on the road than at home during their stretch, having lost the five road games by an average of 5.6 points, last three by a TOTAL of four points. It has been a different story at home, however, those three games having been decided by 13 points. For halftime bettors: Tech has endured long second-half scoring droughts in some of its losses (one field goal over an 11:35 stretch against Maryland, one over a 12:53 stretch against Clemson, scoreless over a five-minute stretch at Virginia Tech, one FG over a 9:27 stretch against Miami). Tech scored just 20 points in the second half of home-court losses to Clemson and Miami.
Florida State, which has won 12 consecutive non-conference home games, plays host to UMass of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Overall, the Seminoles have won seven consecutive and nine of 10 non-conference games this season. The only out-of-conference loss for the Seminoles came at the hands of No. 6/7 Florida (Nov. 25, 66-74) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville. Florida State is 9-2 at home this season (6-0 in none-conference and 3-2 in ACC games) and enters Sunday’s game against the Minutemen having won two straight. Florida State enters Sunday’s game ranked second in the ACC in scoring offense with an 80.5 points per game average. The Seminoles have scored at least 80 points in 10 of their first 20 games of the season and have already scored better than 80 points in more games this season (10) than they did during the entire 2004-05 season (six).
Sunday’s contest against Western Michigan will be one of just two return games Ohio has with MAC West Division opponents this season. Last Time vs. Western Michigan: In the conference opener for both teams, Ohio rolled past WMU by a final of 87-55 on Jan. 4 in Athens.
The Tar Heels have been through a lot since Jan. 14, when the Hurricanes beat them 81-70 at the Smith Center. The No. 23 Tar Heels were left for dead after losing at Virginia, sprang back to life with a win at Florida State, took a hard fall with a home loss to Boston College and then played their best basketball of the season during a three-game winning streak. And all of that was before UNC’s 87-83 loss to No. 2 Duke on Tuesday night, a game in which the Tar Heels trailed by 17 points in the second half before rallying to take a five-point lead with 4½ minutes remaining. After three games in six days, what was the energy level of the Tar Heels as they began looking toward Sunday night’s rematch with the Hurricanes? “Down,” senior forward David Noel said. “We’re tired as all get-out. But at the same time, that’s college basketball. It’s something that we’re through now. We’ve had a day off, and now it’s time to get back to work and prepare for Miami.” Sunday’s game, scheduled for 8 p.m. (Fox Sports South) at the BankUnited Center, is UNC’s first rematch of the season. The Tar Heels host Georgia Tech on Feb. 15 and travel to Wake Forest four days later before finishing up against four ACC teams they already have played. This week’s break, five days in between games, is UNC’s longest until the end of the regular season. The Tar Heels have one more day of preparation than Miami, which lost at home to No. 16 N.C. State 86-77 in double overtime Wednesday night. The Hurricanes had been off for a week before defeating the Tar Heels last month.
UNC has gone 3-1 on the road in ACC games this season, twice beating teams that were undefeated at home before the Tar Heels arrived in town. UNC also defeated Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Dec. 3, another example of a young team exceeding expectations away from its home court. More notes for halftime bettors: UNC has been especially impressive in the second half in its last two road games, holding opponents to a combined 31-percent shooting and outscoring them by an average of 13 points in wins at Florida State and Maryland.
Sunday, February 11, 2006