Saturday's Early NCAA Basketball Picks ATS With Betting Value

Matthew Jordan

Saturday, February 27, 2016 5:19 AM GMT

One of the most incredible conference streaks is likely to continue on Saturday afternoon when Kansas should beat visiting Texas Tech in Big 12 action. Here are my top three picks on early-starting Saturday games with Heritage's NCAA basketball odds.

Texas Tech vs. No. 2 Kansas (-13.5)  
The Big 12 isn't exactly a pushover conference and never has been. That's what makes it unfathomable that Kansas can clinch a 12th straight regular-season title Saturday with a win over surging Texas Tech -- and KU would probably rise to No. 1 in the polls. Sure, KU has shared the regular-season title a few times but that hardly takes away from the accomplishment. The last school to win the regular-season crown outright other than KU was Oklahoma State in 2004. Kansas (24-4, 12-3) won impressively at No. 19 Baylor on Tuesday, 66-60 in a game that featured 17 lead changes. A late KU 10-2 run was the difference. Frank Mason III led Kansas with 19 points. The Jayhawks shot 50 percent from the field, the sixth time in the past seven games they have reached that mark. Kansas ranks 13th nationally in shooting at 49 percent. It has won eight straight games, four of those vs. ranked teams. Texas Tech (18-9, 8-7) is actually the second-hottest team in the Big 12 and has gone from a potential NIT berth to in the NCAA Tournament field as things stand. The Red Raiders, currently projected as a No. 8 seed,  have won five straight Big 12 games for the first time in school history. Three of those are against ranked teams. Tubby Smith is looking to become the second coach ever to lead five schools to the Big Dance. He did so at Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky (won a national title) and Minnesota. TTU hosted No. 1 Kansas  on Jan. 9 and lost 69-59. The Jayhawks didn't shoot well but outrebounded Texas Tech 42-26.

Kansas has won 13 straight in the series. Make it 14 and the Jayhawks cover against the NCAA Basketball odds. TTU is 8-17 ATS in its past 25 road games. Kansas is 8-0 ATS in its past eight games. KU is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Kansas -13.5 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

No. 11 Louisville vs. No. 12 Miami (-2.5)
The Hurricanes (22-5, 11-4) could find themselves tied for the ACC lead by  Saturday night if they win here in their home finale. That's because North Carolina, which leads UM by a game, is an underdog at No. 3 Virginia later Saturday (Heels also close season with tough game at Duke). Miami was blown out at North Carolina last Saturday but rebounded in style on Monday with a 64-61 home win over those Cavaliers. Junior guard Davon Reed posted a career high 21 points for Miami and had two key free throws with 3.9 seconds left. UVA didn't get a good shot off at the buzzer. The Hurricanes haven't lost back-to-back games yet this season and 4-2 against ranked teams. There's little doubt that UM's Jim Larranaga will be ACC Coach of the Year. Louisville (22-6, 11-4) also could tie for first with a win and UNC loss, but the Cardinals are ineligible for postseason basketball after self-imposing a ban. I'm sure ACC officials would rather not see an ineligible team as the conference champion. The Cardinals bring a three-game winning streak into this one. They won 67-60 at Pittsburgh on Wednesday. U of L did so despite leading scorer Damion Lee making just 3-for-8 from the field and Trey Lewis, the team's second-leading scorer, going scoreless. Reserve forward Raymond Spalding, who averages 5.8 points and 4.4 rebound per game, sat it out with a groin injury and is questionable here. This is the only scheduled meeting between Louisville and Miami.

Miami. The Cardinals are 1-7 ATS in their past eight road games. Miami has covered 13 of its past 17 at home.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Miami -3
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

No. 1 Villanova vs. Marquette (+8.5)  
The top-ranked Wildcats surely will fall out of that spot in the polls Monday, but how far they drop will depend on Saturday's result. Villanova (24-4, 13-2) had a seven-game winning streak end Wednesday in a 90-83 loss at No. 5 Xavier, so it's not like that's a bad defeat. Foul trouble for the Wildcats' Kris Jenkins played a big role. He had 22 points just 14 seconds into the second half but then went to the bench at the 18:09 mark after picking up his third and fourth fouls in a 15-second span. He wouldn't return until  under nine minutes remained and then fouled out almost immediately. Center Daniel Ochefu also had some foul issues and played just 24 minutes. It was the most points allowed this season by Villanova, which still controls its destiny to win the Big East regular-season title. Marquette (18-10, 7-8) probably would need to win out in the regular season and a couple of games in the Big East Tournament for any NCAA Tournament at-large hopes. The Golden Eagles have won two straight games, both on the road. They lost at Villanova on Jan. 13, 83-68. The Wildcats blew a 16-point lead and would trail early in the second half before pulling away. Jenkins had 20 points.

Take Villanova with your NCAA Basketball picks. The Cats are 5-1 ATS in their past six after a loss. Marquette is just 7-19 ATS in its past 26 at home. Villanova is 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings. 

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Villanova -8
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes