Pack not smokeless on Tobacco Road

Jan 31, 2006 2:18 AM

It’s easy not to like either Duke or North Carolina. The schools are 10 miles apart in distance and 500 wins ahead of most everyone else. Or, so it seems. Heck, even the women’s teams rank 1 and 2!

Well, there’s another school on Tobacco Road that has to take sloppy thirds most of the time, including this year. But, Raleigh is the capital, not Durham or Chapel Hill. And, don’t be shocked if the ACC Tourney champion when all is said and done isn’t NC State.

The Wolfpack are on a nice run, now 11-5 against the spread this season. It could have been better if not for consecutive final two-minute spasms against Duke and Carolina when potential buzzer beaters became double-digit losses.

State was fortunate last Sunday to pull out what seemed a sure defeat at Clemson in double overtime. Those are the kind of wins that make kids claim the overabused "team of destiny" tag.

We’ll just settle for the covers.

Before entering this week’s slate, a little love goes out to UNLV’s legend Jerry Tarkanian. The Shark Tank is Tark’s new radio show airing Fridays from 10-noon Vegas time at The Palms on Sirius 123. With his numerous contacts in college basketball, Tark lines up coaches with more regularity than victories — and that’s quite a lot!

For those who bet college hoop, it’s a no-brainer. No finer insight than Tark.

Last week: 4-3.

Season: 19-9

Here we go, using GT lines since none are out yet.

Wake +3 at Miami (Tue): I slighted the Demon Deacs from Tobacco Road mention because they’re slipping. Miami at home is no longer easy. CANES.

Rutgers +7 at Syracuse (Wed): If you can figure the Orange out, drop me an E-mail. Rutgers had a nice home win over Louisville. Take the points. SCARLET.

Arizona -1 at USC (Thu): Boy, can Lute Olson use a win! Things are going south quickly in Tucson. USC is just like Syracuse. Who knows? CATS.

Dartmouth +10 at Cornell (Fri): Did you notice that 22-point pasting Cornell handed Columbia on the road? We are hoping there’s karma left. BIG RED.

Santa Clara +17 at Gonzaga (Sat): People are trashing the Zags a bit for not dominating the WCC enough. Zags are fine, it’s the lines that are off. CLARA.

Maryland +5½ at NC State (Sun): The Terps could be in for a rough night in the old FOX hole. We’ll ride our hot team. PACK.