Full preview of a busy Saturday college hoops slate - presented by Betfred Sportsbook
It's another loaded Saturday slate of college hoops, as positioning for both conference and NCAA Tournament seeding is heating up.
Here's your whole preview - with the odds, provided, as always, by Betfred Sportsbook.
No. 9 Baylor at No. 5 Kansas (-5) - 4 p.m. ET, ESPN: This is the best matchup this weekend. Baylor has been one of the hottest teams in college hoops, with 10 wins in their last 11 games - which is an insane stretch in the rugged Big 12. It all starts with a trio guards, Adam Flagler, LJ Cryer and freshman Keyonte George, who is averaging a team-high 15.5 points. Kansas has played very well after losing a lot of production from a team that won it all last year. They’re essentially a team dominated by wings this year, but it’s working, with Jalen Wilson leading the way as a Player of the Year candidate, averaging a Big 12 leading 20.2 points per game. These are two of the best teams in college hoops, and two legitimate national title contenders, so expect Allen Fieldhouse to be rocking, especially with College Game Day in attendance as well.
No. 19 Iowa State at No. 12 Kansas State (-3.5) - 2 p.m. ET, ESPN: This is another big game in a loaded Big 12. Iowa State is more of a defensive-minded team, playing one of the slowest pace's in the sport (261st nationally). Kansas State meanwhile wants to get up and down more, with Keyontae Johnson (17.5 points per game) and Markquis Nowell (16.8 points per game) leading the way. This is going to be a dogfight in Manhattan, Kansas. These are also two of the biggest surprise teams in college basketball this year and have just added some big depth to a loaded Big 12. Look for Manhattan to be rocking, with this big of matchup happening there.
No. 10 Tennessee (-2) at Kentucky - 1 p.m. ET, CBS: This is a huge game in the SEC. Tennessee just rebounded with a mega-win over No. 1 ranked Alabama, after losing two straight games on last second shots. They’re one of the best defensive teams in the entire country, leading the sport in field goal percentage defense are ranked No. 2 in points allowed. Offensively, they are balanced, but could be short-handed after veteran Josiah Jordan-James and Julian Phillips missed Wednesday's win against Alabama with injuries. Then there's Kentucky; Oscar Tshiebwe is still an elite basketball player, but hasn't been the same this year, and the players around him have largely been inconsistent. Like Tennessee, the Wildcats are dealing with some injury issues as well, however after guards Sahvir Wheeler and CJ Fredrick missed the last two games with injuries, each could be back Saturday at Rupp Arena.
Illinois at No. 14 Indiana (-6) - 12 p.m. ET, ESPN: This should be a very good Big Ten game. Both teams have had very high highs, but also very low lows this season. The Illini are one of the better defensive teams in the Big Ten and have Terrance Shannon Jr. to lead them on offense, as he is averaging 17 points per game. They’ve also recovered well from some turmoil. Indiana, meanwhile has vaulted itself into the conversation of "best team in the Big Ten" with eight wins in their last 10 games. They are coming off a loss to Northwestern, but have won six straight overall at home. Trayce Jackson-Davis is playing like a first team All-American this season, averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds. The question: Will the Illini have an answer for him down low?
Oklahoma State at No. 22 TCU (-6) - 2 p.m. ET, ESPN+: This is another big matchup in the Big 12, between two more teams that seem likely to play in the NCAA Tournament. Kalib Boone has been great for the Cowboys this year, leading the way with 12.5 points per game, one of three players who averages double-figures for the Cowboys. They’ve excelled the most on defense though, holding opponents under 70 points in six of their last seven wins. The Horned Frogs were playing like the best team in the Big 12, but their best player, Mike Miles Jr., has been injured. There’s a chance he comes back in this game, but if not look for Damion Baugh to pick up his slack. This is a pivotal matchup in the Big 12 seeding-wise, so expect Fort Worth to be loud.
Other Games to Watch:
Duke (-1) at Syracuse
Seton Hall at No. 20 UConn (-10)
Oklahoma at No. 6 Texas (-10.5)
Wake Forest at No.15 Miami (-6.5)
Georgia at No. 1 Alabama (-18.5)
Colorado at No. 8 Arizona (-13)
Villanova at No. 24 Providence (-3.5)
No.18 Creighton at St. John’s (-7)
BYU at No. 17 Saint Mary’s (-10)
Follow Jake Faigus on Twitter - @Jake_Faigus
For all of Saturday's lines, make sure to check out the Betfred Sportsbook