NCAA Basketball Picks of The Day: Trio Of Winners For Saturday

Matthew Jordan

Saturday, February 27, 2016 6:33 PM UTC

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 6:33 PM UTC

It's the biggest game in the ACC's regular season Saturday, and the only Top-10 matchup of the day around the country, when North Carolina visits Virginia (6:30 p.m. ET). Here are my top Saturday evening picks with Heritage NCAA Basketball odds.

No. 7 North Carolina vs. No. 3 Virginia (-4)
ESPN is televising this showdown and the GameDay crew will be on hand. It's the only Top-10 matchup in the ACC thus far in 2015-16, which might surprise people. North Carolina (23-5, 12-3) leads the conference by  a game over Miami and Louisville and those two schools play earlier Saturday. The Heels have won two straight since a last-second home loss to Duke on Feb. 17. On Wednesday, UNC avoided a potential trap game with an 80-68 win at NC State to sweep the season series. Likely ACC Player of the Year Brice Johnson had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Heels. It was his ACC-best 17th double-double and fourth straight game leading the team in scoring and rebounding. The Heels were down 13 with 12:08 left in the first half but then went on a 28-10 run to take control. UNC improved to 5-2 in ACC road games this season. Virginia (21-6, 10-5) is two games out of first and looking to lock down a Top 4 spot and double-bye in the conference tournament at worst. The Wahoos, two-time ACC regular-season champions, have lost two of three by a combined four points. Monday it was 64-61 at No. 12 Miami. UVA's Malcolm Brogdon had a career-high 28 points but got little help. Fellow starters London Perrantes, Isaiah Wilkins and Devon Hall all were scoreless for the first 23 minutes. Wilkins suffered a possible concussion and could miss Saturday's game. This is the only scheduled meeting between the schools this season. It's one of the nation's best offenses (UNC) against one of its best defenses.

North Carolina at +4 NCAA Basketball odds. Virginia is 33-1 in its past 34 home ACC games and has won 18 straight at home overall. So call it a hunch. The trends don't agree with me for the most part.

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NCAA Basketball Picks: North Carolina +4
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


Florida vs. LSU (-1.5)
Huge game in the SEC between NCAA Tournament bubble teams. Florida (17-11, 8-7) is generally considered in the field right now even though the Gators are just tied for sixth in the SEC. A loss here surely knocks them out of the Big Dance temporarily. UF is trending the wrong way, having lost two straight. It was beaten soundly at home by fellow bubble team Vanderbilt on Tuesday, 87-74. The Commodores shot 57.7 percent overall and were 10-for-20 from 3-point line. The 87 points were a season  high allowed by Florida as was Vandy's shooting percentage. UF  season leading scorer Dorian Finney-Smith was just 1-for-7 shooting for seven points. Arguably the team's second-best player, freshman KeVaughn Allen, was 0-for-7 and scoreless. LSU (16-12, 9-6) is out of the NCAA Tournament field right now, without question, as the Tigers have lost three straight games, the past two in blowout fashion. On Tuesday, it was 85-65 at Arkansas. LSU star freshman Ben Simmons had another strong game with 23 points, 12 rebounds and six assists before fouling out. LSU played without guard and second-leading scorer Keith Hornsby. He aggravated a hernia injury last Saturday and likely is out for the season. On Jan. 9, Florida beat visiting LSU 68-62. Simmons was magnificent in the loss with 28 points and 17 rebounds, but he had two costly turnovers in the final minute. LSU was 3-for-20 from 3-point range.

LSU. The Gators are 1-6 ATS in their past seven games. LSU is 10-4 ATS in its past 14 Saturday games. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.

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NCAA Basketball Picks: Florida +1 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


Fresno State vs. New Mexico (-5.5)
Fresno State hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since 2001 and isn't in the Big Dance field right now, by any projections. But could the Bulldogs (19-9, 10-5) make their way into the conversation? They are in sole possession of second place in the Mountain West and remaining there would be helpful to stay on the opposite side of the conference tournament bracket from regular-season champion San Diego State. FSU is trending up as it has won three straight games and likely would be favored in the final two after this: vs. Colorado State and at Utah State. So should FSU win out and then get to the Mountain West Tournament final, even losing to SDSU, that might be enough for an at-large bid. On Wednesday, FSU beat Air Force 64-63 on two Marvelle Harris free throws with four seconds left. The Bulldogs were down 11 about midway through the fourth quarter. Harris, a top Mountain West Player of the Year contender, scored his team's final 12 points and finished with 20 to go with five assists, four steals, three blocked shots and three rebounds. He is one of five players in the nation to be in his conference's Top 3 in points, assists and steals per game. Fresno State is 5-0 this season in games decided by a single possession. New Mexico (16-12, 9-6) is jockeying for a Top 4 finish in the conference and a first-round MWC Tournament bye. The Lobos were in a tie for second with Fresno before Tuesday's 86-69 loss at Colorado State. UNM won at Fresno State 77-62 on Jan. 2. That's the Bulldogs' only home conference loss.  They were just 1-for-18 from 3-point range.

Back New Mexico with your NCAA Basketball Picks. FSU is 7-15 ATS in its past 22 road games vs. teams with a winning home record. UNM is 4-0 ATS in its past four home games. The home team is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings. 

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NCAA Basketball Picks: New Mexico -6
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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