College basketball picks, odds, schedule: Predictions for Kentucky vs. Tennessee, and other big games Saturday
Saturday's slate is going to be a good one, so make your picks only after seeing what our experts have to say
With each passing day that gets us closer to Selection Sunday, the stakes for conference games ratchet up a level.
It will be at full tilt on Saturday.
On the line this weekend is not only the all-important carrot hanging over top teams at this stage in the season -- a potential No. 1 seed for March Madness -- but also regular season conference titles and bragging rights hanging in the balance. All three are of equal importance.
Nowhere will you find that more evident than in Lexington, Kentucky on Saturday night. Tipping at 8 p.m. ET will be No. 1 Tennessee taking on No. 5 Kentucky in the game of the weekend. Heck, maybe the game of the month. Tennessee (23-1, 11-0 SEC) has won 19 straight coming in, and Kentucky (20-4, 9-2 SEC) has won 10 of its last 11 -- its lone loss coming at the buzzer in a controversial basket interference no-call on Tuesday.
So as you prepare to map out your weekend, please adjust accordingly based off the oracular picks of our hoops experts below.
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No. 24 Maryland at No. 6 Michigan (-7.5) 12 p.m. on Fox and streaming on fuboTV: Maryland may be catching Michigan at a good time. The Wolverines have sputtered a bit lately, especially on Tuesday night, when coach John Beilein and the team melted down at Penn State. On the other hand, The Terrapins could be catching Michigan at at bad time. That loss is more likely a wake up call than a sign of a downturn for the Wolverines. Only one team has come within seven points of Michigan at home all season. I do not expect Maryland to be the second. Jerry Palm's pick: Michigan -7.5
Oklahoma State at Texas (-11.5) 1 p.m. on CBS, CBSSports.com and streaming on fuboTV: Oklahoma State took out Texas 61-58 the first time these two squads played this season, and while Texas hasn't shown marked improvement since then, Oklahoma State has shown marked deterioration. Horns by double digits is a virtual lock. Kyle Boone's pick: Texas -11.5
No. 23 Iowa State at No. 18 Kansas State (-2) 4 p.m. on ESPN2: Let the record show that when/if Kansas' run of Big 12 regular season titles is snapped by Kansas State, the story should not be focused on what went wrong with the Jayhawks, but on how the Wildcats emerged from the battle royale that has been the Big 12 in 2019. Kansas State has a toughness and an edge to it that grinds opponents down, starting on the defensive end where they now rank No. 8 nationally in defensive efficiency. Iowa State is really fun when they're rolling with five different and capable scoring options, but "fun" is not on the menu when you walk into the Octagon of Doom. This is an improved Wildcats team from the one that already beat ISU by one point on the road and I think they can cover the short spread with the home court advantage. Chip Patterson's pick: Kansas State -2
NC State at No. 2 Duke (-16.5) 6 p.m. on ESPN: Duke will play its first game Saturday since overcoming a 23-point deficit with 9:08 remaining at Louisville earlier this week. The opponent is an NC State that's 5-6 in its past 11 games. So I'll keep this simple: If Duke can erase a 23-point deficit on the road against Louisville in roughly nine minutes, there's no way I'm picking against Duke to cover a 16.5-point number at home against a Wolfpack team that hasn't been sharp in a while. Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils can and will win by however many points they want. Look for Zion Williamson to again remind us why he's going to be the National Player of the Year and No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Gary Parrish's pick: Duke -16.5
No. 1 Tennessee at No. 5 Kentucky (-3) 8 p.m. on ESPN: I'll be in Lexington, Kentucky, for the game of the weekend — and the second straight weekend in which we have two of the top five teams in the AP rankings facing off. Tennessee's suspect — to the extent that a 23-1 team from a major conference can be suspect; I mean, come on — in the eyes of some because it's gone so long without playing a ranked team. Nine weeks and counting, if in fact you are counting. I think that could have a little material impact as the Vols step into Rupp Arena on what will be a lively night. But I'll ride with the Wildcats here because I like their defense and second-chance opportunities (Kentucky is third nationally in offensive rebound percentage) to win out in a close game at home. I'll take the Cats. Matt Norlander's pick: Kentucky -3
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