Top College Basketball Picks for Saturday, February 20th, 2021

Top College Basketball Picks for Saturday, February 20th, 2021
Fri 19th February 2021

Vanderbilt v Alabama 

The #8 Alabama Crimson Tide continue to roll, coming off a 115-82 victory to Georgia this past Saturday. It was their third win in the last four outings, as the Tide put on another excellent performance on both sides of the ball. They shot 64.3% from the field and 60.0% from downtown while holding the Bulldogs to just 2-for-19 from beyond the 3-point line. 

Bama remains the best team in the Southeastern Conference, three games ahead of Arkansas. The Tide own the second-best defensive rating in the country, allowing 87.3 points per 100 possessions, so we’re expecting them to roll over the Vanderbilt Commodores. 

Vanderbilt has dropped three of its last four contests including a 73-70 loss at Georgia. The Commodores are coming off an 82-78 defeat to Kentucky this past Wednesday. They sit bottom of the SEC standings with a 2-9 record in the conference play. 

The Commodores lack the depth to upset the Crimson Tide. They lean heavily on sophomore guard Scotty Pippen Jr. (20.3 PPG, 5.2 APG) and sophomore forward Dylan Disu (14.9 PPG, 8.9 RPG), and these two guys won’t be enough against Bama.

Vanderbilt has some serious defensive issues, allowing 102.6 points per 100 possessions (166th) on 46.7% shooting from the field (303rd). 

College Basketball Pick – Alabama by 16. 

UConn v Villanova 

The UConn Huskies have won two straight games, outlasting Xavier 80-72 and Providence 73-61. They will try to extend the winning streak in a tough road matchup with the #10 Villanova Wildcats, and the Huskies will have a mountain to climb at Finneran Pavilion in Villanova, Pennsylvania. 

The Wildcats are in crisis, dropping two of their previous four contests. They are coming off a heavy 86-70 defeat at Creighton last Saturday, so head coach Jay Wright had the entire week to work with his boys on certain things. 

Villanova has struggled defensively thus far, allowing 97.9 points per 100 possessions (88th). Still, the Wildcats own the fifth-best offensive rating in the country (122.1) while making 38.2% of their 3-pointers (26th).

Senior guard Collin Gillespie (14.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG) continues to drive their fluid offense, and the Wildcats shouldn’t have problems outlasting UConn by seven or more points at home. 

The Huskies are 37th in the country in offensive efficiency (112.5) and 46th in defensive efficiency (94.7). However, they play at a very slow pace, as well as the Wildcats.

Both teams average below 65.0 possessions per 40 minutes, so we’re backing the hosts to win this battle and cover the spread along the way. Villanova is 4-1 straight up and 3-2 ATS in its last five meetings with UConn. 

College Basketball Pick – Villanova by 7. 

Kentucky v Tennessee 

The Kentucky Wildcats might miss the Big Dance for the first time since 2013. They are No. 77 in the latest NCAA NET Rankings, and the Wildcats sit at the eighth spot of the SEC standings, a couple of games behind the #19 Tennessee Volunteers who occupy the fourth spot in the Southeastern Conference. 

Anyway, things can change in the next two weeks, but John Calipari’s boys need to continue with a solid defensive performance and cause a few upsets.

The Wildcats surrender 92.9 points per 100 possessions (31st) on 40.9% shooting from the field (62nd). Still, they need to improve offensively, too, after scoring just 107.3 points per 100 possessions so far this season (97th). 

Kentucky has won two straight contests over Auburn 82-80 and Vanderbilt 82-78, and the Wildcats have to stay sharp offensively if they want to upset the odds at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. The Volunteers lean heavily on their defense, yielding just 88.0 points per 100 possessions (3rd) on 40.2% shooting from the field (36th). 

Two weeks ago, the Vols beat Kentucky 82-71 as 3.5-point road favorites. They are 4-1 SU and ATS in the last five encounters with Kentucky, and the Wildcats should have learned a few lessons. The visitors desperately need an upset here, so we’re backing them to keep it close and cover an 8-point spread. 

College Basketball Pick – Kentucky by 8. 

Texas Tech v Kansas 

The Big 12 showdown at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence is undoubtedly one of Saturday’s headliners, as the #15 Texas Tech Red Raiders take on the #23 Kansas Jayhawks. We’ll see a hard-fought battle between a couple of super talented teams, and the Jayhawks opened as slight 2-point home favorites. 

Kansas has dominated Texas Tech over the last ten years, winning 18 of their previous 20 encounters. The Jayhawks are 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS in their last six matchups with the Red Raiders, and we’re backing them to extend their dominance Saturday on the home court. 

Over the last two weeks, the Jayhawks looked locked in, recording four consecutive wins and covering on all four occasions. They’ve had a lot of ups and downs this term, so head coach Bill Self must be pleased with his team’s recent performance. 

The Jayhawks are second in the Big 12 Conference, only one game ahead of the fourth-placed Red Raiders. Texas Tech has lost three of its last six games including the previous one against West Virginia at home, 82-71. 

The Raiders haven’t played since February 9, postponing three games due to the COVID-19 issues within their rivals. That could be a problem against the in-form Jayhawks, but this clash can easily go either way, and we would be surprised if someone gets it easily. 

College Basketball Pick – Kansas by 2. 

Missouri v South Carolina 

The #20 Missouri Tigers are on a three-game losing streak following an 80-70 defeat at Georgia this past Tuesday. They will almost certainly fell out of the AP Top 25 Poll, but the Tigers still have to beat South Carolina in this one, opening as slight 3-point road favorites. 

These two Southeastern Conference foes already met each other on January 19, and Missouri beat South Carolina 81-70 as a 5-point home fave. The Tigers shot 58.3% from the field and hold the Gamecocks to just 38.6% shooting from the field and 28.6% from beyond the arc. Missouri is 6-2 ATS in its last eight encounters with South Carolina. 

The Gamecocks are on a four-game losing streak following a heavy 93-73 defeat at Tennessee last Tuesday. They are only 2-7 SU and 3-6 ATS in the last nine games overall, struggling to play well on both sides of the ball. 

South Carolina scores 107.0 points per 100 possessions (101st) on 42.3% shooting from the field (263rd) and surrenders 97.4 points in a return (84th) on 45.1% shooting from the field (247th) and 35.0% from deep (244th). The Gamecocks will have to improve a lot if they want to break out of their slump, so take the visitors to cover. 

College Basketball Pick – Missouri by 3.

West Virginia v Texas 

Here’s another Big 12 clash that will be a joy to watch, but betting on it seems like a very difficult job. The #12 Texas Longhorns welcome the #13 West Virginia Mountaineers, opening as 4-point favorites, and the hosts will search for their third straight win after outlasting Kansas State 80-77 and TCU 70-55 in their previous two showings. 

On the other side, the Mountaineers put an end to a three-game win streak last Saturday, suffering a 91-90 double-overtime loss to Oklahoma. Junior forward Derek Culver accounted for 29 points and 14 rebounds, while sophomore guard Miles McBride added 19 points and eight assists, but the Mountaineers just couldn’t get the job done. 

West Virginia tallies 117.6 points per 100 possessions (10th) while making 36.9% of its 3-pointers (53rd). However, the Mountaineers have some defensive problems and allow 96.0 points per 100 possessions (60th) on 43.3% shooting from the field (180th). 

Back in January, the Longhorns barely outlasted the Mountaineers 72-70 thanks to Andrew Jones’ triple with 1.8 seconds left on the clock.

They managed to slow down West Virginia’s offense and limit the Mountaineers to 38.7% shooting from the field. We’re looking for more of the same this Saturday, though this is another hard-to-predict contest. Texas is 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS in its last six matchups with West Virginia. 

College Basketball Pick – Texas by 4. 

Illinois v Minnesota 

Illinois and Minnesota face off against each other for the second time this season, and the Fighting Illini thrashed off the Golden Gophers 92-65 as 8.5-point home favorites on December 15, 2020.

It was a bad day in the office for the Gophers who shot a horrible 27.5% from the field and 25.0% from beyond the 3-point line, while Kofi Cockburn led the way for Illinois with 33 points and 13 rebounds in just 25 minutes on the floor. 

The #5 Fighting Illini are riding a six-game winning streak, holding the second spot in the Big Ten Conference, just half a game behind Michigan. Ayo Dosunmu (21.3 PPG, 5.1 APG) and Kofi Cockburn (17.4 PPG, 10.6 RPG) continue to torture their rivals, and we’re expecting another strong performance against Minnesota.  

The Golden Gophers are winless in two straight outings, suffering a 72-59 defeat at Maryland and an 82-72 loss at Indiana. The Gophers also lost their co-captain Gabe Kalscheur (9.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG), as the 6-foot-4 junior guard broke his finger and will be sidelined for at least three weeks. 

Minnesota yields 96.0 points per 100 possessions (62nd) and will struggle to cope with Illinois’ prolific offense that scores 117.8 points per 100 possessions (9th) on 50.3% shooting from the field (11th). The Golden Gophers are 4-9 SU and ATS in their previous 13 meetings with the Fighting Illini. 

College Basketball Pick – Illinois by 5. 

Florida State v Pittsburgh 

The #16 Florida State Seminoles will look to pile on Pittsburgh’s misery, as the Panthers have dropped six of their last seven games including the previous three. On the other side, the Seminoles have won seven of their previous eight contests and are coming off an impressive 81-60 victory over the #7 Virginia Cavaliers. 

It was a brilliant performance by Florida State. The Seminoles made 50.0% of their field goals and 54.2% of their 3-pointers while committing just five turnovers against one of the better defensive teams in the nation.  

Florida State has the eighth-best offensive rating in the country (117.9). The Seminoles shoot 47.3% from the field (43rd) and 39.8% from beyond the 3-point line (8th), but they are also capable of playing solid defense, surrendering 94.4 points per 100 possessions (42nd) on 40.8% shooting (58th). 

After that huge win over Virginia, the Seminoles have to stay focused and take full advantage of Pittsburgh’s flaws. The Panthers allow 97.9 points per 100 possessions (89th) on 43.4% shooting from the field (181st). Also, they rank outside of the top 200 in both field goal percentage and 3-point percentage. 

Interestingly, Pittsburgh is 4-2 SU and 5-1 ATS in its last six encounters with Florida State. This is a nice opportunity for the Seminoles to improve their record and keep chasing the Cavaliers for the top spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference. 

College Basketball Pick – Florida State by 6. 

Oklahoma v Iowa State 

The Iowa State Cyclones are the worst team in the Big 12 Conference, posting a 2-15 overall record and 0-12 in the conference play. On the other side, the #9 Oklahoma Sooners are 13-5 overall and 8-4 in the conference play, sitting at the third spot of the Big 12 standings, two and a half games behind the leader Baylor. 

The Sooners shouldn’t have any problems thrashing off the Cyclones. They’ve played only one game in the last 13 days, outlasting West Virginia in double overtime, 91-90, so the Sooners must be fired up for Saturday’s clash at James H. Hilton Coliseum in Ames. 

Oklahoma already beat Iowa State this term. The Sooners failed to cover a 14.5-point spread in a 79-72 victory on the home court but didn’t have too many problems down the stretch.

They are a top-30 team in both offensive and defensive efficiency, while the Cyclones rank 191st in points scored per 100 possessions (102.0) and 142nd in points allowed per 100 possessions (101.1). 

Iowa State is No. 237 in the NCAA NET Rankings, tallying a 0-10 record in the Quadrant 1 contests. The Cyclones are 3-6 ATS in their last nine outings and 2-7-1 ATS in their previous ten showings on the home court. 

College Basketball Pick – Oklahoma by 10. 

Arizona v USC 

The Arizona Wildcats are scoring 114.0 points per 100 possessions, enough for the 19th-most in the nation, but they are yielding 97.9 points in a return (87th). They’ve lost four of their last five games overall, coming off a 74-60 defeat at UCLA. 

Arizona is 1-4 ATS in its last five outings, and the Wildcats have covered the spread just three times in their previous ten showings away from home. Furthermore, Arizona is 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS in its five matchups with USC. Back on January 7, the Trojans easily defeated the Wildcats 87-73 as 3.5-point road underdogs. 

The #17 USC Trojans are unbeaten in seven straight games, going 6-1 ATS in the process. They own the 11th-best defensive rating in the nation, yielding 90.2 points per 100 possessions, so we’re expecting the Trojans to continue with their strong performance against the Wildcats’ prolific offense. 

Also, the Trojans will dominate Arizona in the paint thanks to Evan Mobley (16.8 PPG, 9.0 RPG) and his brother Isaiah (9.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG). USC is sixth in the country in opponent FG% and 16th in defensive rebounds per game. The Wildcats will have to enjoy a wonderful shooting night to keep it close against the Trojans. 

College Basketball Pick – USC by 7. 

San Diego State v Fresno State 

The #25 San Diego State Aztecs and Fresno State Bulldogs will wrap up a two-game series at Save Mart Center in Fresno, and the Aztecs easily beat the Bulldogs 67-53 as 13.5-point road favorites this past Thursday. San Diego State is now 4-2 SU and ATS in its last six matchups with Fresno State. 

The Aztecs dominated the Bulldogs on both sides of the ball, leading by as many as 21 points and holding their rivals to 33.3% shooting from the field. Matt Mitchell racked up 19 points, five boards, and three steals, while Trey Pulliam added 18 points on 8-for-14 from the field. 

San Diego State has played in a rich vein of form lately. The Aztecs are 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS in the last seven games overall, but they still trail 1.5 games behind the best team in the Mountain West Conference. 

Therefore, the Aztecs will be keen to cover against the Bulldogs once more. They allow just 91.0 points per 100 possessions (17th), while Fresno State scores only 98.9 points per 100 possessions (248th). The Aztecs should dominate the Bulldogs on the defensive end and shut them down completely. 

College Basketball Pick – San Diego State by 13. 

San Diego v Gonzaga 

The Zags opened as massive 32.5-point favorites here, but we couldn’t expect anything else, as the San Diego Toreros are 3-7 on the season and 2-4 in the West Coast Conference play. The visitors have played just one game since a 90-62 defeat at Gonzaga on January 28. 

San Diego covered a 28.5-point spread in that heavy loss on the home court, and the Toreros are 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings with Gonzaga. However, we have to back the Zags in this one. They should beat the Toreros by 50. 

Gonzaga will certainly extend its winning streak here, while the Bulldogs are 3-1-1 ATS over their previous five outings. Last time out, the Zags beat Saint Mary’s 87-65 as 20.5-point home favorites, and the Gaels are a much better team than the Toreros, especially on the defensive end. 

San Diego yields 100.5 points per 100 possessions (130th), but the Toreros’ offense is the biggest issue, tallying 98.7 points per 100 possessions (252nd) on 40.9% shooting from the field (310th). They will need a ton of luck to avoid an embarrassing loss at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane. The Toreros are 1-5 ATS in their last six road tilts when listed as double-digit underdogs. 

College Basketball Pick – Gonzaga by 33. 

Virginia v Duke 

Here’s another marquee matchup you have to see this Saturday, as the #7 Virginia Cavaliers visit the Duke Blue Devils, opening as 1-point favorites for their ACC showdown at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham. The Cavaliers have won just four of their last 11 encounters with Duke, but they’ve gone 8-3 ATS in the process. 

The Blue Devils are having a nightmare season, though they’ve won two straight games over NC State 69-53 and Wake Forest 84-60. Still, the Blue Devils are only 4-6 SU in their last ten games and 4-8 ATS in the previous 12. They lay at the eighth spot of the ACC standings, four games behind the Cavaliers who sit atop of the table. 

Virginia is coming off a heavy 81-60 loss at Florida State, putting an end to a four-game winning spin. The Hoos will be keen to make amends and beat their old foes, as Virginia is now just 1.5 games ahead of the Seminoles. 

We’re backing the Cavaliers to win this battle in Durham, but frankly, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Blue Devils come out on top despite their poor form this term.

Duke uses four or five freshmen in its rotation which makes this team pretty unpredictable. The Blue Devils certainly possess enough talent to compete with the Cavaliers, but we would lean on Virginia’s experience. 

College Basketball Pick – Virginia by 1.

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