Saturday's NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day

Matthew Jordan

Friday, February 21, 2014 8:06 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 21, 2014 8:06 PM UTC

Florida and Kansas are two of the national title favorites at sportsbooks -- Gators are 11/2 favorites at Bovada and Jayhawks are 8/1 at Bovada -- and they can all but wrap up their respective conference regular-season titles with wins Saturday. Another plus for UF: It would likely become the nation's top-ranked team on Monday with a victory. So make sure to check out our college basketball picks of the day.

Free NCAA Basketball Picks & Predictions

No. 2 Florida at Ole Miss

Syracuse will drop from the top spot in the polls thanks to Wednesday's shocking home loss to Boston College and presumably No. 2 Florida would replace the Orange even though No. 3 Wichita State is the nation's only unbeaten team remaining. UF hasn't been No. 1 since the 2006-07 national title season.

The Gators (11-10-1 ATS, 6-15-1 O/U at sportsbooks) bring an 18-game winning streak into Saturday's game at Mississippi, UF's toughest remaining road contest in the hopes of running the regular-season table in the SEC. Florida survived a trap game Wednesday night in beating visiting Auburn 71-66 as a 16-point favorite on NCAA basketball odds. That game followed a big win in Kentucky so that UF was sluggish wasn't shocking. Gators coach Billy Donovan didn't expect starting center Patric Young to play against Auburn because of knee tendinitis, but Young not only played he hit two free throws with 19 seconds left to break a tie. He finished with 17 points -- all in the second half -- and seven rebounds.

Ole Miss (8-11-3 ATS, 11-10 O/U) is on the NCAA Tournament bubble at best with an RPI of 76 and an overall record of 16-10 with a 7-6 SEC mark. The weak competition in the conference won't help the Rebels' cause. Neither will a four-game losing streak, which Mississippi will be on if it drops this one. It lost 84-70 at home to Kentucky on Tuesday. UK jumped out to a 25-11 lead and was never threatened. Ole Miss leading scorer Marshall  Henderson, No. 3 in the SEC at 19.4 ppg, was only 5-for-17 from the field against Kentucky. He's third in the nation in averaging 4.48 3-pointers per game but rarely shoots from anywhere else.

A win here would be historic for Mississippi as it is 0-22 all-time against the top two teams in the nation. The Gators have won five of the past six in this series but not the most recent one: In the 2013 SEC Tournament championship game, the Rebels upset Florida 66-63. That earned Ole Miss its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2002.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Ole Miss +7. The Rebels will play with desperation and the underdog has covered seven straight in this series. Mississippi also has covered 11 of its 12 after losing by at least 10 points at home.


No. 19 Texas at No. 8 Kansas

The University of Kansas -- shouldn't it be UK then instead of KU? -- has won an incomprehensible nine consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles and the only school with a chance to end that streak this season is Texas. The Horns would need an upset Saturday and some help to win their first conference title since sharing it with KU in 2008.

Kansas (13-12-1 ATS, 16-9 O/U at sportsbooks) nearly got caught looking ahead Tuesday, winning 64-63 at Texas Tech as a 7.5-point favorite for sports bettors. Star freshman Andrew Wiggins had the game-winning layup two seconds left as Kansas reached 20 wins for the 25th straight season. KU freshman center Joel Embiid, the likely top pick in the 2014 draft, returned from missing a game with an injury and matched a career high with 18 points. Embiid and Wiggins shot a combined 66.6 percent from the field, while the rest of the team was at 29.2 percent. Embiid said he felt fine after the game so there's no chance he sits Saturday.

Texas (12-11 ATS, 13-10 O/U) was tripped up Tuesday, losing 85-76 at No. 17 Iowa State, which was a 6-point favorite for sports bettors. UT shot only 32.9 percent and allowed ISU to hit on 49.2 percent from the field. Isaiah Taylor led Texas with 26 points and is averaging 19.1 ppg in the past seven. The Horns are 2-2 following a seven-game winning streak.

The sixth win of that seven-game run was an impressive 81-69 victory over visiting Kansas on Feb. 1 with Texas a 4-point underdog on NCAA basketball odds. Kansas was only 25-for-65 from the field (25.8 percent in the first half) with Wiggins having one of his worst games, going 2-for-12 for seven points and fouling out. Taylor and Jonathan Holmes combined for 45 of Texas' points with no other player in double figures. Texas blocked 12 shots and won the rebounding battle 44-37. That was UT's fifth win over a Top-25 team this year.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Kansas -11.5. The Jayhawks are 11-1 all-time vs. Texas in Lawrence. Last year it wasn't close: 73-47 Jayhawks. The home team has covered five of the past six in this series.


comment here