College basketball picks, schedule: Predictions for Tennessee vs. Alabama and more Top 25 games Saturday



As you might have heard, March, the best month in sports, has finally arrived. With March Madness on the horizon, Saturday’s college basketball schedule brings a fantastic appetizer for the rest of the month with a doubleheader on CBS, five ranked-on-ranked matchups and 21 of the Associated Press Top 25 teams in action.

The fun starts in The Lone Star State when No. 15 Baylor hosts No. 7 Kansas. The Jayhawks have been without star guard Kevin McCullar Jr. and it remains unclear when he could return to the lineup. The Bears are coming off a key road win over TCU after falling to No. 1 Houston at Foster Pavilion last weekend.

No. 16 Kentucky will look to stay hot against a struggling Arkansas team at Rupp Arena. The Wildcats knocked off Mississippi State on the road earlier this week thanks to a game-winning floater by star freshman Reed Sheppard. Washington hosts USC later in the day during the second game of the doubleheader on CBS.

The SEC regular season title could be on the line when No. 4 Tennessee travels to Tuscaloosa to face No. 14 Alabama. The SEC rivals sit tied atop the conference standings with a 12-3 record heading into the final three games. Tennessee owns the head-to-head tiebreaker via an 91-71 win over the Crimson Tide earlier this calendar year.

Odds via SportsLine consensus | All times Eastern

No. 4 Tennessee at No. 14 Alabama

8 p.m. | ESPN,  fuboTV (Try for free) — Alabama is an impressive 13-1 inside Coleman Coliseum, with the lone loss coming to Clemson in November. The Crimson Tide have won both of their games (Auburn and Florida) against ranked opponents at home. In Alabama’s way of improving that mark and adding another signature win to its résumé is Tennessee star Dalton Knecht. Knecht and Alabama’s Mark Sears are playing at different levels right now and both should be All-Americans. This game could come down to what star meets the moment. It’s not shocking Alabama is favored, but Tennessee is the pick here. Prediction: Tennessee +2.5 — Cameron Salerno

No. 23 Gonzaga at No. 17 Saint Mary’s

10 p.m. | ESPN,  fuboTV (Try for free) — If you’re a night owl, this is the game for you. Earlier this week, Saint Mary’s clinched its first outright WCC regular season conference championship since 2012. There isn’t a team in the conference that has offered Gonzaga more resistance over the years than Saint Mary’s. In the last meeting, Saint Mary’s went to Spokane and won by a slim 64-62 margin. This has all the makings to be another classic, but don’t be surprised if the Gaels make another statement before the WCC Tournament. Prediction: Saint Mary’s -2.5 — Cameron Salerno

No. 7 Kansas at No. 15 Baylor

1:30 p.m. | ABC,  fuboTV (Try for free) — Kansas is a different team without McCullar in the lineup. The Jayhawks lost their most recent outing in Allen Fieldhouse to BYU without McCullar — snapping their 67-game home winning streak against unranked teams. Kansas doesn’t have the depth to compensate for losing that kind of production. Baylor is coming off a strong showing against TCU, but they have also looked shaky during Big 12 play. If Kansas wants to steal a win on the road, relying on Hunter Dickinson is critical. On the flip side, Baylor freshman center Yves Missi is the X-Factor. Kansas keeps it close and covers, but Baylor wins outright on its home floor. Prediction: Kansas +4.5 — Cameron Salerno

Arkansas at No. 16 Kentucky

1:30 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)   Kentucky should win, and it should win handily, but I’ll take the points on the Arkansas side just because 15 is a big number to lay. This feels like an 90-80 type game that is never in doubt but winds up being a high-scoring affair. UK’s offense has been firing on all cylinders the last two games in wins vs. Alabama and Mississippi State, but its defense hasn’t quite clicked yet. Prediction: Arkansas +14 — Kyle Boone

USC at Washington

4 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)   Strictly from a talent perspective, I like USC to cover the number here on the road. If you used that logic most of the season for USC, of course, you’d have lost a lot of money, but the Trojans have at least played inspired basketball of late with the emergence of Isaiah Collier and Boogie Ellis returning to form. Prediction: USC +5.5 — Kyle Boone

Who will win and cover in every college basketball game? Visit SportsLine to get picks from the model that simulates each game 10,000 times and is up more than $1,200 for $100 players on its top-rated spread picks the past six years. 





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