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NBA Tier List: Nets starting to get going, Wizards continue to surprise

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At long last, with most NBA teams around the league having played at least 10 games, we’re beginning to see some clarity, at least at the top.

The middle of the pack around the NBA is still something of a jumbled mess and will likely require more time to sort out, but as things stand right now around the league, there appears to be five teams that have separated themselves from the pack as the best in the league at the moment.

Here’s a look at those five teams and more in the latest edition of the NBA Tier List.

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Fab five

This is the quintet of teams that was mentioned off the top.

Within the group, the Golden State Warriors have been the most impressive as Steph Curry has looked every bit the MVP front-runner most expected him to be in the pre-season.

Most scary among these five teams, though, have been the Brooklyn Nets who had been sluggish out of the gates, but have now racked off five wins in a row, and it looks like they’re just starting to get their engine warm.

Beal finally has the help he’s needed for years

One of the most pleasant surprises of the young season has been the play of the Washington Wizards. Thanks to new roster additions like Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma and Spencer Dinwiddie, all of a sudden the Wizards look to have some real depth around star guard Bradley Beal, and it’s not just on the offensive side of the ball.

Washington has never really had a problem scoring the rock, but preventing other teams from scoring on them has been a real issue. So far this season, though, they’ve been rock solid on that end, boasting the fifth-best defensive rating in the league.

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Elsewhere around the tier, we would be remiss not to mention the investigation that Phoenix Suns owner Rover Sarver is under now for allegations of racism and sexism in the workplace. His team has played well on the court, but things off it, could get quite ugly.

Good stories and bad

Spread out among these nine teams are some good stories and bad ones.

Starting with the good news: The two early Rookie of the Year frontrunners Evan Mobley of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Scottie Barnes from the Toronto Raptors seem to have helped raise the floor of their respective teams and with the apparent step up the Cavaliers’ Darius Garland has taken and the return of Pascal Siakam in Toronto, both of these teams who weren’t thought of much in the pre-season could suddenly be pretty serious players in the Eastern Conference picture.

And now the bad news: The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks have been devastated by some early injuries and have dropped five of their last six contests. You have to think they’ll figure it out and turn things around, but at 4-6, the Bucks haven’t got out to a very auspicious start.

Even worse than that, though, is what’s happening in Portland, though. The Trail Blazers are on a three-game slide and announced that it had hired an independent firm to investigate concerns about the workplace environment under general manager Neil Olshey.

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Hornets coming back down to earth?

The Charlotte Hornets appeared to be one of the most fun teams to watch in the NBA to begin the season, however they’ve dropped four in a row now and sit under .500. Is this a case of them course correcting back into the team most thought they would be?

And speaking of course-correcting, the Los Angeles Clippers have won four straight and with Serge Ibaka returning to the lineup Sunday, things should only get better for the Clippers after a poor start to the season.

Free SGA

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is way too good to be stuck in the kind of rebuilding situation he’s in with the Oklahoma City Thunder. His heroics on Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers is definitive proof of this. Seeing him toy with the Lakers and basically getting where he wanted and scoring at-will down the stretch makes you wonder what he might look like on a team with a real chance this season.

There likely isn’t a scenario that sees him get traded this season to a real contender, but, boy, wouldn’t that be nice if it were to happen.



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How to watch Appalachian State vs. James Madison: NCAA Football live stream info, TV channel, time, game odds

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Who’s Playing

James Madison @ Appalachian State

Current Records: James Madison 2-0; Appalachian State 2-1

What to Know

The James Madison Dukes watched the action from their couches last weekend, but are set to take to the field. James Madison and the Appalachian State Mountaineers will face off in a Sun Belt battle at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. The odds don’t look promising for the Dukes, but the bigger the opponent is, the harder they fall.

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A well-balanced attack led James Madison over the Norfolk State Spartans every single quarter on their way to victory two weeks ago. James Madison claimed a resounding 63-7 win over Norfolk State at home. The game was pretty much decided by the half, when the score had already reached 35 to nothing.

Meanwhile, Appalachian State didn’t have too much breathing room in their contest with the Troy Trojans last week, but they still walked away with a 32-28 victory. Appalachian State QB Chase Brice was slinging it as he passed for two TDs and 279 yards on 34 attempts. Near the top of the highlight reel was Brice’s 53-yard TD bomb to WR Christan Horn in the fourth quarter.

Their wins bumped the Dukes to 2-0 and the Mountaineers to 2-1. Watch the matchup and check back on CBS Sports to find out who keeps up the positive energy and who hits a stumbling block.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kidd Brewer Stadium — Boone, North Carolina
  • TV: ESPN Plus
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $40.99

Odds

The Mountaineers are a solid 6.5-point favorite against the Dukes, according to the latest college football odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Mountaineers as a 7.5-point favorite.

Over/Under: -111

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See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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UTSA vs. Texas Southern: How to watch NCAA Football online, TV channel, live stream info, game time

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Who’s Playing

Texas Southern @ UTSA

Current Records: Texas Southern 1-2; UTSA 1-2

What to Know

The Texas Southern Tigers will take on the UTSA Roadrunners at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Alamodome. Texas Southern isn’t favored, but they just beat the odds in their last game, so don’t count them out.

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The Tigers kept a clean sheet against the Southern University Jaguars last week and took the matchup 24 to nothing. The squad ran away with 21 points in the first half and mostly just sat on those in the second to pick up the victory.

Meanwhile, it was all tied up 17-17 at halftime, but UTSA was not quite the Texas Longhorns’ equal in the second half when they met last week. The Roadrunners suffered a grim 41-20 defeat to the Longhorns. This contest was a close 17-17 at the break, but unfortunately for UTSA it sure didn’t stay that way. A silver lining for them was the play of RB Brenden Brady, who threw one touchdown in addition to punching in one rushing touchdown.

Texas Southern’s win lifted them to 1-2 while UTSA’s loss dropped them down to 1-2. We’ll find out if the Tigers can add another positive mark to their record or if UTSA can shake off the defeat and take the spring out of Texas Southern’s step.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Alamodome — San Antonio, Texas
  • TV: STADIUM
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $69.00

Odds

The Roadrunners are a big 42-point favorite against the Tigers, according to the latest college football odds.

Bettors have moved against the Roadrunners slightly, as the game opened with the Roadrunners as a 44-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

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See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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North Carolina vs. Notre Dame live stream info, TV channel: How to watch NCAA Football on TV, stream online

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Who’s Playing

Notre Dame @ North Carolina

Current Records: Notre Dame 1-2; North Carolina 3-0

What to Know

The North Carolina Tar Heels will be returning home after a two-game road trip. They will take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kenan Memorial Stadium after a week off. UNC is expected to win — but not by much — so they will need to come into the game prepared for a fight.

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The Tar Heels beat the Georgia State Panthers 35-28 two weeks ago. Among those leading the charge for UNC was RB Omarion Hampton, who rushed for two TDs and 110 yards on 16 carries. Hampton put himself on the highlight reel with a 58-yard TD scramble in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame netted a 24-17 victory over the California Golden Bears last week. RB Audric Estime and RB Chris Tyree were among the main playmakers for Notre Dame as the former punched in one rushing touchdown and the latter snatched one receiving TD.

Notre Dame’s defense was a presence as well, as it embarrassed California’s offensive line to sack QB Jack Plummer six times for a total loss of 47 yards. It was a group effort with four guys contributing.

The wins brought the Tar Heels up to 3-0 and the Fighting Irish to 1-2. A pair of stats to keep an eye on: UNC enters the matchup with 310 passing yards per game on average, good for 21st best in the nation. But Notre Dame comes into the contest boasting the 34th fewest passing yards allowed per game in the nation at 184. These opposing strengths should make for an exciting matchup.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kenan Memorial Stadium — Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • TV: ABC
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $110.00

Odds

The Tar Heels are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Fighting Irish, according to the latest college football odds.

The line on this game has moved quite a bit since it opened, as it started out with the Fighting Irish as a 1.5-point favorite.

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Over/Under: -110

See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Notre Dame have won all of the games they’ve played against North Carolina in the last eight years.

  • Oct 30, 2021 – Notre Dame 44 vs. North Carolina 34
  • Nov 27, 2020 – Notre Dame 31 vs. North Carolina 17
  • Oct 07, 2017 – Notre Dame 33 vs. North Carolina 10



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