The eyes of college basketball are squarely fixed on Saturday's showdown between No. 1 Baylor and No. 3 Kansas. As they should be. It's a matchup that could decide who wins the Big 12 regular season crown, and it could finally wake the nation up to how good this Baylor team really is.
But the loser of that game won't have to worry about falling far in the rankings or in the NCAA Tournament seeding picture. So if you're looking for more mayhem in college basketball, direct your attention to Tuesday's slate of games.
For one, Baylor faces a potential trap game at Oklahoma. It's a team the Bears only beat by four at home last month. Now they must face the Sooners on the road. Oklahoma is 5-1 in Big 12 home games with an average margin of victory of 15.4 points in those wins. Watch out, Baylor.
Elsewhere, the Tuesday docket trumps Saturday's schedule in terms of vulnerable top-10 teams in action. An Illinois team hemorrhaging losses faces a No. 9 Penn State team on an eight-game winning streak in the nation's toughest conference. College basketball is just wacky enough this season to make you believe the Fighting Illini could pull it off, especially if Ayo Dosumnu makes his return.
No. 5 Dayton, fresh off cracking the top five for the first time in 64 years, plays at VCU. It's one of two Quadrant 1 games remaining for the undefeated Flyers. Rounding out the list of top-10 teams that could be at risk, No. 10 Kentucky plays at LSU.
Here are three solid plays to mull over in advance of a busy college hoops night. Yours truly was the only writer on the CBS Sports expert panel who West Virginia to beat Baylor straight up. All odds are via William Hill.the spread against Kentucky on Saturday. We'll just pretend that I didn't also pick
Those poor Razorbacks. They are teetering on NCAA Tournament bubble after losing four in a row and now must try and stop the bleeding in a venue where they have lost 13 straight. That sounds like a recipe for failure. Florida has hardly proven itself trustworthy this season. But the Gators have won four of their last five. Sure, those four wins have come against some of the conference's weaker foes. But let's be honest: Arkansas is one of the SEC's weaker foes, at least until prolific 3-point shooter Isaiah Joe returns from knee surgery. Oh by the way, the Gators' average margin of victory in those four victories? It's 11.75 points. Florida should cover against the reeling Razorbacks.
The SportsLine Projection Model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, has crushed its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread the past three years, returning $2,770 to $100 players. It also entered Week 16 of the 2019-20 season on a 54-30 run on all top-rated college basketball picks. See its ATS and O/U picks for Arkansas-Florida over at SportsLine.
Wisconsin is defending its home court as well as any team in the country recently. A four-game winning streak at Kohl Center includes victories over Maryland, Michigan State and Ohio State, all of whom have been ranked in the top 10 at some point this season. Covering against a Purdue team that has lost its last two games by a combined 28 points? Should be a lock.
Checking out another Big Ten battle, the SportsLine Projection Model has simulated the matchup between Illinois and Penn State and has one side of the spread cashing 58 percent of the time. See the model's picks over at SportsLine.
3. Northwestern at Maryland: Maryland -13
It's pretty hard to believe that Northwestern led Maryland 40-26 at halftime when they met last month. You can interpret that as a sign of Northwestern's capability for greatness against the Terrapins, if you want. But I look at the final result -- a 77-66 Maryland win -- and see a Northwestern team that was outscored 51-26 in the second half at home.
Which brings us to the location of this game: Xfinity Center. It's a quirk in Maryland's schedule that the Terrapins have played no Quadrant 3 home games yet. But a glance at their performance in Quadrant 2 home games inspires confidence in their ability to cover tonight. Three of their five Quadrant 2 home victories have come by more than 13. Covering the spread against in a Quadrant 3 game against Northwestern should be no problem for the Big Ten leaders.
The SportsLine Projection Model has simulated the potential trap game between Baylor and Oklahoma 10,000 times and has one side of the spread cashing in 54 percent of simulations. Check out the model's picks over at SportsLine.