We got through with W. Michigan last night, but the Pacers continue to amaze. This team is really on a roll. Getting 3 wins in 3 nights is quite a feat, and maybe it's time to start looking at them as far as how far they might be able to go this season.
Let's remember that the Pacers haven't had their "ace" all season long, but Granger will be coming back soon if all reports are accurate. Without him, they've made it on defense. When he gets back, the Pacers will have another offensive threat, and that can only help them once they get to the postseason.
I don't want to go overboard with this, but the Pacers are going to be big trouble in the playoffs. I don't think they're going to be able to beat the Heat 4 times, but I don't see any other team in their conference that they can't. The Bulls are rolling nicely right now, and the key for the Pacers is probably going to be whether or not the Pacers can win their division and get 1 of the top 3 seeds. That would afford them home court in at least their 1st postseason series, and if they can reach #2, they won't have to worry about facing the Heat till the conference championship series.
All of this is conjecture and opinion about something that's a long way down the road, but watch out for the Indiana Pacers. They seem to have the recipe right at this time.
THE NBA (8-5 last night and 17-12 so far for the week)
SU WINNERS (7-6 last night and 19-10 so far for the week)
CELTICS and NUGGETS
TOTALS (6-7 last night and 19-10 so far for the week)
OVER - Bulls/NUGGETS (195 1/2)
UNDER - Lakers/CELTICS (194 1/2)
BUTTA (0-1 last night and 2-1 so far for the week)
Nothing here tonight. I don't like what the numbers say about the Celtics, and the Bulls/NUGGETS matchup is such a strong contrast of styles that it's very hard to pick which one will prevail.
ALL THE REST
1. CELTICS (-2 1/2) over Lakers - Life without Rondo has been very good for the Celts so far, but I'm not sure about tonight. The Lakers have been playing well lately also, but now they're going to have to deal without any of their big men again. That didn't go well for them at all when it happened earlier in the season, but they'll still have the best player on the court in Kobe. CELTICS 94, Lakers 80
2. Bulls (+6) at NUGGETS - The Nugs have built one of the strongest home court advantages in the league so far this season, but the Bulls are one of the best road teams. That comes with playing defense, and that's something the Nugs tend to struggle with at times. NUGGETS 105, Bulls 101
COLLEGE HOOPS (11-4 ATS/9-6 SU/7-8 TOTALS last night and 14-14/18-10/10-18 so far for the week)
BUTTA (1-0 last night and 1-1 so far for the week)
Ark.-Little Rock (-215) over LA.-MONROE - I'm not going to lay the number with Little Rock. I'll get to that later, but even though I don't know why the number is so low, I still won't lay it. Monroe is a really bad basketball team, and Little Rock has dominated them over the last 3 seasons going 5-0, and that includes a 25-point win over them earlier this season. Monroe simply isn't good enough to make up that kind of difference regardless of where they play.
ALL THE REST
1. DUKE (-10 1/2, U 150 1/2) 76, N. Carolina St. 60
2. VIRGINIA (-8, U 111 1/2) 60, Clemson 45
3. VIRGINIA TECH (+4 1/2, U141 1/2) 66, Maryland 65
4. Indiana (-8, U148 1/2) 79, ILLINOIS 58
5. FLA.-INT'L (-5 1/2, U137) 63, Fla.-Atlantic 55
6. Ark.-Little Rock 59, LA.-MONROE (+5, U130 1/2) 56
7. N. TEXAS (-2, U131 1/2) 72, W. Kentucky 59
8. S. ALABAMA (-7, U127 1/2) 59, Troy St. 49
9. DENVER (-16 1/2, O122) 78, Seattle 55
10. LA. TECH (-13 1/2, O143) 81, Tex.-San Antonio 66
11. NEW MEXICO ST. (-9 1/2, U134) 65, Idaho 51
12. Texas St. (+9, U139 1/2) 63, TEX.-ARLINGTON 55
13. ARIZONA ST. (-3 1/2, O135) 72, Cal 66
14. OREGON (-6, U136 1/2) 63, Colorado 55
15. UCLA 68, Washington (+8 1/2, U149) 64
16. USC 71, Washington St. (+5, O124 1/2) 68
I'm looking very hard at the Washington/UCLA game tonight, but I'm not ready to pull the trigger yet. Both teams are in a bit of a stumble mode right now, and that makes me feel like the spread is way too many for the favorite. Possibly more to come later on that. Whatever happens, have a great rest of your Thursday. If you're starting your weekend a bit early tonight, be careful out there. I'll see you tomorrow.