With Marshall unavailable, Ianni is likely to be in the first XI again this week. The Spurs are home against the Lakers (8:35 ET) and are favored by 8 1/2 points (190 1/2). The second half of the ESPN doubleheader is Alabama at Arkansas (9:00 ET).
Saint Mary’s did not have a letdown in its first week being ranked this season, taking care of Pepperdine and Santa Clara. The Gaels knew they are going to get every team’s best shot now that they have a number next to their name and Saint Mary’s will face its stiffest test on the road with LMU on Thursday and BYU on Saturday.
Here, however, it gets interesting. Who do you pick? Georgetown, a team that escaped from Villanova recently because of a bad foul call? North Carolina, a team taken to OT by Clemson and winning by 1 at Virginia? Kansas, who just lost to Texas? There’s plenty more choices, as UCLA, Tennessee, and Stanford deserve to be in #1 talk for now, and teams such as Purdue are hanging around.
Overall, I think it will be back and forth series that comes down to who can make the better adjustments. Gregg Popovich and Phil Jackson are both Hall of Fame coaches, now which team is more likely to listen to their coach instead of putting all the pressure on themselves. The answer in my view is the San Antonio Spurs. I am predicting a Spurs victory in seven games to win the Western Conference Finals, this despite a grueling schedule to start Game 1.
The biggest game at the beginning of the season could be the match-up between these 2 powerhouses. With Florida the reigning champs and the pre-season #1 with the starting 5 returning, and Kansas opening the season at #3 by the time this game happens it could be a #1 vs. #2. So if you overload on food, make sure you take that nap during the day so you can be up for this late contest which doesn’t start until 10:30pm.
San Diego has slowly moved up the ranks and now sits at six, the highest it has been all season. The Toreros went on the road and beat Portland before falling to Gonzaga. They were close in the first half only to watch the Zags pull away in the second.
The NBA is back in action tonight with a 12-game schedule. The Pistons, owners of the league’s best record at 42-9 but just 5-4 over their last nine games, host the Hawks at 7:35 ET. Atlanta upset the Pistons 99-98 on Feb 7 in Atlanta as a 10-point ‘dog’. Detroit is favored by 14 points with a total of 191.
Although they bring in a trio of freshman and, according to ESPN, none of which are ranked very high. But there is this small forward Jarvis Pugh out of Plano, Tx. That got me thinking. He has a “NR” as in not ranked by the ESPN recruiting analysis. That same ranking was given to Foster and Trasolini.