NCAA Basketball Picks for Saturday: Who Owns The Queen City?

Matthew Jordan

Saturday, December 12, 2015 1:50 PM GMT

Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015 1:50 PM GMT

Find out my top three recomendations for Saturday's NCAA Basketball based on an in-depth odds analysis. Don't miss the best NCAA basketball picks available for you.

You can have your Duke-North Carolina or Kentucky-Louisville, but the most heated rivalry in college basketball could well be Cincinnati-Xavier and it's the only Top-25 matchup on Saturday. Here are my three top recommendations after analyzing the NCAA Basketball odds:

 

No. 23 Cincinnati vs. No. 12 Xavier (-6.5 On NCAA Basketball Odds)[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2935517, "sportsbooksIds":[169,1096,93,19,92,238], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Xavier -6.5
Best Odds Offered By BetOnline

 

This is known locally as the Crosstown Shootout with city bragging rights in Cincinnati at stake for a year. It's sponsored by Skyline chili, and if you have ever been to that city, well, let's just say that stuff is mega-popular and truly awesome. The only previous time both teams were ranked for the Crosstown Shootout was in the 1993-94 season when No. 22 Xavier beat No. 19 UC 82-76 in overtime. Xavier is 7-0 in this series when it enters the game ranked by the Associated Press. At 9-0, Xavier is off to its best start under seventh-year coach Chris Mack. In the past three games, the Musketeers are winning by nearly 32 points. The lone loss for Cincinnati (8-1) was by two at home to Butler. UC's wins have been by an average of UC 23.6 points per game.

This game hasn't been played at Xavier's Cintas Center since 2011 when there was a bench-clearing brawl between the schools that led to several suspensions. It was so bad that the series was moved off the alternating campus schedule and to downtown's U.S. Bank Arena. But things cooled down and it was held at  Cincinnati's Fifth Third Arena last year. Xavier won that game 59-57. UC trailed by 12 at the half but took a 57-56 lead with 19 seconds left. Xavier's Trevon Bluiett, then a freshman, was fouled with 11 seconds to go and sank two free throws for his only points of the game. It was Xavier's sixth win in the last eight games between the rivals. Xavier has won six straight in the series as the home team, including a 64-47 win over the Bearcats at U.S. Bank Arena two years ago.

Xavier has covered five of the past seven meetings and we are adding them to our NCAA Basketball picks. Musketeers are 5-0 ATS in their past five after a win. Cincinnati is 2-5 ATS in its past seven vs. teams with a winning record.

 

No. 3 North Carolina vs. Texas (+5.5 In NCAA Betting)
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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Texas +5.5 
Best Odds Offered By Heritage

 

This is the Tar Heels' second true road game of the season and their last before Jan. 4 at Florida State in ACC play. UNC's first road game didn't go too well as it lost 71-67 at Northern Iowa on Nov. 21 for its lone loss. But star point guard Marcus Paige, an Iowa native, was out injured then and he's back now. And the Heels have looked very strong in winning four straight, highlighted by an 8-point home win over then-No. 2 Maryland on Dec.1 in Paige's season debut. Last Sunday, the Heels' potential was on full display as they crushed a very good Davidson team 98-65. Carolina is averaging 84.4 points per game and has five double-digit scorers, led by Justin Jackson's 14.0 per game.

Texas (5-3) is 4-0 at home and this is clearly the biggest game in the short Longhorns career of first-year coach Shaka Smart. UT warmed up with a 116-50 win over UTSA on Tuesday night, the eighth-largest margin of victory in school history. The 116 points scored were the most for UT since the 2002-03 season. Believe it or not, Texas has won two straight and six of the last seven meetings against North Carolina. UT is 2-0 against the Tar Heels in games played at the Erwin Center (1995-96 and 2013-14 seasons). The Horns have a big man in Cameron Ridley who can give UNC trouble. He's averaging 12.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and ranks third nationally in shooting at .724.

NCAAB Free Pick: Texas. The Heels are 0-6 ATS in their past six vs. the Big 12. UT is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings.

 

Minnesota vs. Oklahoma State (-2.5 For NCAA Basketball Picks)
[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2935529, "sportsbooksIds":[169,1096,93,19,92,238], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Minnesota +2.5
Best Odds Offered By Pinnacle

 

This neutral-site game is being held at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It's the sixth Division I matchup at the venue, which opened two years ago. It only holds 3,250 and isn't far from the Minnesota state line. So I guess advantage Gophers. It's interesting that this game is in South Dakota because Minnesota (5-4) comes off home losses to the University of South Dakota (last Saturday) and South Dakota State (Tuesday).  Senior forward Joey King leads Minnesota in scoring at 15.8 points per game, shoots .531 from the field and is a stellar free-throw shooter. Oklahoma State (5-3) also comes in on a two-game skid, falling at home to Tulsa and Missouri State. OSU hadn't lost back-to-back home non-conference games since 1985. The Pokes suffered a big loss when senior guard Phil Forte (13.3 ppg) suffered an elbow injury on Nov. 19 vs. Towson, and he hasn't played since. Forte was the team's top returning scorer and OSU looks lost without him. The Gophers and Cowboys are meeting for the first time in 29 years.

The Pokes are 1-4 ATS in their past five games. They are 2-6 ATS in their past eight after a loss. 

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