September 27, 2023

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College basketball picks, schedule: Predictions for Texas vs. Texas Tech and other top games Saturday

Saturday’s college basketball schedule pairs nicely with the NCAA March Madness Men’s Bracket Preview airing at 12:30 p.m. on CBS. The early bracket real means things are officially getting real. With just over three weeks to go until Selection Sunday, the NCAA Tournament picture is coming into focus, and a huge slate of games will bring us one step closer to sorting things out on the bubble and in various conference races.

The Big Ten is the power conference with the most uncertainty at the top, and one of the day’s top showdowns features two of the several teams still in the league title mix as No. 19 Michigan State hosts No. 12 Illinois at 12 p.m. ET. But there will be compelling action throughout the day and into the night, when No. 3 Arizona hosts Oregon at 10 p.m. as the Ducks look to pick up a massive victory amid life on the bubble.

In between will be countless other key games and big moments, including a top 25 showdown on CBS between No. 25 Alabama and No. 4 Kentucky. With the NFL season concluded, the Winter Olympics winding down and the NBA on its All-Star break, the floor belongs to college basketball.

Our experts have picks and predictions for the day’s biggest games here.

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern

Featured Game | Texas Longhorns vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

12:30 p.m. | ABC,  fuboTV (Try for free) — Texas is trying to draw even with Texas Tech in the league standings and secure revenge for its 77-64 loss at Texas Tech on Feb. 1 as first-year coach Chris Beard looks to avoid getting swept by his old school. The Red Raiders had the advantage of an absolutely wild home court advantage in the first meeting and will realize how much that was worth in the rematch. The Longhorns beat Kansas in their last home game and should defend the home floor once again. Prediction: Texas 67, Texas Tech 63

No. 25 Alabama at No. 4 Kentucky 

Featured Game | Kentucky Wildcats vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

1 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.comCBS Sports App (Free) — It seems unlikely that Alabama will shoot just 10% from 3-point range like it did in the first meeting, won 66-55 by Kentucky just two weeks ago. With TyTy Washington’s status also uncertain for the Wildcats, the Crimson Tide should give UK a solid game. Look for Alabama to stay in it until the end before UK steals it to complete a season sweep. Prediction: Kentucky 79, Alabama 77

Featured Game | Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Tennessee Volunteers

4 p.m. | ESPN2,  fuboTV (Try for free) — Arkansas has won 10 of its last 11 and Tennessee has won eight of its last nine as both have put themselves in great shape to secure double-byes in the SEC Tournament. It’s the first of two meetings between the teams over the season’s home stretch and this one feels destined for a split. Arkansas should be able to ride a rowdy crowd and its edge in front court athleticism to a close victory. Prediction: Arkansas 79, Tennessee 75

Featured Game | Virginia Tech Hokies vs. North Carolina Tar Heels

4 p.m. | ESPN2,  fuboTV (Try for free) — You’d like to think that UNC might come out and play with a vengeance following a horrific home loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday. But Virginia Tech has quietly won six straight to resurrect its NCAA Tournament hopes and should have no problem scoring against the Tar Heels’ pitiful defense. Cassell Coliseum should provide plenty of backup as UNC is denied its first Quad 1 win. Prediction: Virginia Tech 77, North Carolina 73

Oregon at No. 3 Arizona

Featured Game | Arizona Wildcats vs. Oregon Ducks

10 p.m. | ESPN,  fuboTV (Try for free) — A road win over Arizona would solve a lot of problems for Oregon, which suffered a brutal 81-57 loss to lowly Arizona State on Thursday after entering the game as one of the “Last four in.” But it’s hard to see a Ducks’ team that also lost by 14 at home to Cal last Saturday beating a legitimate national title contender on the road. The Wildcats have won 11 of their last 12, and no one in the Pac-12 has come within single digits of Arizona except for UCLA. Prediction: Arizona 96, Oregon 71

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No. 12 Illinois at No. 19 Michigan State

Noon | ESPN,  fuboTV (Try for free) — This is a rematch of a game that Illinois won 56-55 on Jan. 25 after fending off a late rally from the Spartans. Actually, it was more of a collapse for the Illini, who failed to score over the game’s final 5:32. This time, Michigan State gets home court advantage as both teams look to stop their recent slides and stay in the Big Ten title hunt. Illinois is just 2-3 over its last five road games and Michigan State should be inspired after an ugly loss at Penn State on Tuesday. Prediction: Michigan State 66, Illinois 63