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College basketball picks, schedule: Predictions for Kansas vs. Texas and other big games on Saturday

College basketball picks, schedule: Predictions for Kansas vs. Texas and other big games on Saturday

The final Saturday of the college basketball regular season is highlighted by a 6 p.m. ET showdown between No. 4 Duke and North Carolina. It marks legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s last game off the bench after 42 seasons at the helm of the program, and there are major implications for both teams. The Blue Devils may need a win to secure the all-time ACC title, and the Tar Heels are looking for a win to boost their chances of entering the NCAA Tournament.

While the Tobacco Road rivalry will take plenty of oxygen from the sport, it is just one of many key games on a busy slate in the first weekend of March. Among the other big matchups are a pair of SEC matchups on CBS, starting with a noon tilt between No. 25 Alabama and LSU and continuing with a 2 p.m. game between No. 7 Kentucky and Florida. .

If the Wildcats win, they might be able to clinch a share of the SEC title, depending on how Auburn fares against South Carolina. Likewise, there will be implications for the championship title in the Big 12, as No. 6 Kansas hosts No. 21 Texas and No. 3 Baylor Iowa State. As the playoffs loom — in fact, they’ve already started in several conferences — the intensity is generally building in college basketball, and that should be visible on Saturday.

Our experts have picks and predictions for the biggest matches of the day here.

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern

No. 25 Alabama at LSU

12 p.m. | SCS,, CBS Sports App (Free) — Both teams are heading to general offers for the NCAA Tournament. The two are also guaranteed to start the SEC tournament in the second round next Thursday and will be on course to face a tough opponent in the quarter-finals. So it’s not like this game has a massive league standings implication. But it’s a huge contest for two teams that need momentum. Home-court advantage has been huge in the SEC this season and is too important to ignore here. Prediction: LSU 79, Alabama 72

No. 7 Kentucky at Florida

2 p.m. | SCS,, CBS Sports App (Free) — Kentucky guards Sahvir Wheeler and TyTy Washington played business as usual in a win over Ole Miss Tuesday in their second game after missing two games with injury. That’s bad news for Florida, which is looking for a big win to solidify its chances of entering the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats should complete a sweep of the Gators in a closer rematch. Florida beat Auburn two weeks ago on this same court, but expecting another upset of this caliber from this team seems too much. Prediction: Kentucky 76, Florida 70

4 p.m. | SCS,, CBS Sports App (Free) — Oregon is playing for its NCAA tournament life and needs a win to avoid getting deep on the wrong side of the bubble entering next week’s Pac-12 tournament. Washington State came close to defeating the Ducks on the road on Feb. 14, but the Cougars have struggled to overcome the bump against quality foes this season. Look for Oregon to get a narrow win. Prediction: Oregon 70, Washington State 68

No. 21 Texas at No. 6 Kansas

4 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — The Jayhawks are struggling, yes. Back-to-back 10-point losses to Baylor and TCU made it a must-win in their quest for the Big 12 title. But it’s hard to see KU losing three games in a row, especially with this home game with a conference title on the line. The Longhorns won the first meeting 79-76 at home on Feb. 7 flexing their defensive muscles with a 15-7 advantage in turnovers. But KU didn’t have Remy Martin in this game, and the graduate transfer point guard should help keep the Jayhawks in check in the rematch. Prediction: Kansas 80, Texas 60

North Carolina at No. 4 Duke

Featured game | Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tar Heels

6:00 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — Will Duke’s young squad be overwhelmed by the historic nature of this moment and struggle to find the rhythm amidst the emotion and chaos surrounding Coach K’s final home game? Potentially, yes. The Blue Devils used a 31-8 start to run away from North Carolina in the first meeting. Since Duke’s 20-point victory, the Tar Heels have won six of their last seven games. Replicating the quick start of Game 1 against a UNC team playing for their berth in the NCAA Tournament won’t be easy for Duke. Ultimately, however, UNC’s defense is too porous to hold Duke down for 40 minutes. Prediction: Duke 80, North Carolina 74

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