Top College Basketball Picks for Saturday, February 27th, 2021

Top College Basketball Picks for Saturday, February 27th, 2021
Fri 26th February 2021

Loyola Marymount vs Gonzaga

The No. 1 ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs are closing in on an undefeated regular season, winning their 23rd straight game on Thursday, 89-75. This has been an impressive run for this team, as they look like nothing can stand in the way of an undefeated season. However, Loyola Marymount will look to do everything they can to end the run.

The Lions are 12-7 overall and in third in the West Coast Conference. They have won five of their last six games, including an 81-74 victory over Pepperdine on Thursday. Since suffering a four-game losing streak, Loyola Marymount has been playing exceptional basketball.

The Bulldogs have been a machine this season. They are first in the country in points per game at 93.2, and have the best shooting team as well and 55.2%. They rank in the top 100 in three-point shooting percentage (35.5%), free-throw shooting (73.7%), assists per game (18.8), rebounds per game (36.2), and steals per game (8.6). This Gonzaga team is an absolute machine.

Corey Kispert leads the Bulldogs in points at 19.3 per game and is adding 4.9 rebounds per contest. Drew Timme has been a great complement to Kispert, averaging 19.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game.

Loyola Marymount will try to do all they can to slow down Gonzaga. It is a tough task as they are averaging 70.7 points per game while allowing 68.0 points per contest.

College Basketball Pick – Gonzaga by 15

Texas vs Texas Tech

It is a big showdown in the Big 12 as No. 16 Texas takes on No. 17 Texas Tech. The Longhorns are 14-6 while the Red Raters are 14-8. Texas is fifth in the conference while Texas Tech is seventh. A lot on the line in this game for sure.

Andrew Jones has been the catalyst for Texas the season, averaging 15.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Three other players are averaging in double digits per contest for the Longhorns, but it has been on the boards where this team has really shined. Texas is 18th in the nation in rebounds per game at 37.0, as Greg Brown is averaging 7.4 boards and Jericho Sims 6.8 rebounds per contest.

They give themselves second and third opportunities and this will be the big test for Texas Tech. Can they block out well enough to limit the rebounding capability of the Longhorns.

That sure is going to fall on Kevin McCullar and Marcus Santos-Silva who are averaging 6.6 and 6.4 rebounds per game respectively. The Red Raiders have a scoring superstar of their own in Mac McClung, who is averaging 16.9 points per game.

Texas is 81st in the country at 75.7 points per game and is allowing 68.7 per contest. Texas Tech is averaging 73.4 points per game while allowing 63.4 per contest, 41st overall.

College Basketball Pick – Texas by 3

Michigan vs Indiana

No. 3 ranked Michigan is 17-1. They are looking to hold off Illinois for the top spot in the Big Ten conference standings. If recent contests are any indicator, the Wolverines should have little trouble with Indiana. They have won seven straight games over the Hoosiers, including an 89-65 victory last February.

Michigan has rebounded well since suffering their first loss of the season, a 75-57 loss to Minnesota back on January 16. Since then, they have won six straight, easily covering the spread in five of the six games.

Michigan is led in scoring by Hunter Dickinson, averaging 14.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. It has been the play of Michigan on the glass that has helped to make them one of the most dominant teams in the country. They are 25th in rebounds per game at 36.6 and 21st in block shots at 4.8 per contest.

Indiana has a big mountain to climb in Michigan. They have a superstar player in Trayce Jackson-Davis, averaging 20.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

Michigan is averaging 79.2 points per game, 37th in the country while allowing 65.7 point per game, 69th overall. Indiana is averaging 72.1 points while allowing 69.9 points per game.

College Basketball Pick – Michigan by 9

LSU vs Arkansas

LSU is 9-5 in the SEC after coming off a 91-78 loss to Georgia on Tuesday. Arkansas has been a giant slayer this week, defeating No. 6 Alabama on Wednesday to move to 10-4 in the SEC. These teams met earlier in the season with LSU winning in Baton Rouge, 92-76.

The Tigers are looking to improve their seeding position with NCAA tournament officials. Currently they are slated to be a No. 9 team, so a victory against a quality opponent like Arkansas can really help their position.

LSU has one of the best offensive teams in the country. They are averaging 82.9 points per game which is eight overall. They have been an outstanding shooting team as well, averaging 47.1% from the floor. Cameron Thomas has established himself as one of the top players in the country at 22.7 points per game.

No. 20 Arkansas is 18-5. They also have their eyes on the NCAA brackets, currently slated to be a No. 5 seed. The Razorbacks have been an offensive showcase, with five players averaging in double digits led by freshman Moses Moody at 16.5 points per game. Senior Juston Smith is averaging 6.7 rebounds and 11.7 points per game, shooting 50.7% from the floor.

LSU is allowing 75.2 points per game. Arkansas is 13th in the country in points per game at 82.4 while allowing 70.0 per contest.

College Basketball Pick – Arkansas by 5

Illinois vs. Wisconsin

After losing to Michigan State, the No. 5 ranked Fighting Illini got back in the win column with a victory over Nebraska on Thursday. No. 23 Wisconsin had lost two games in a row, but they rebounded with a victory over Northwestern.

With three games remaining, Illinois still has a shot at the top spot in the Big Ten as they are just one game behind Michigan. Illinois has been great against the spread in conference battles this season, covering the points in 10 of the 17 Big Ten conference games.

Illinois has a question mark as Ayo Dosunmu is likely out with a head injury. He has been a monster in the conference, averaging 21 points and 5.3 assists per game. Kofi Cockburn is picking up the slack, recording 27 points in the victory over Nebraska.

Wisconsin is 10-7 in the conference, firmly entrenched in sixth place. They have covered eight of their 17 conference games. The Badgers are struggling as D’Mitrik Trice has been missing his stroke, scoring 13 points or fewer in four straight games. He has been solid overall this season, averaging 13.5 points and 4.0 assists per game, but they need more out of him in a game like this.

Wisconsin is averaging 69.8 ppg while Illinois is at 81.5 points per contest, 16th in the country. The Illini are allowing 69.2 points per game while Wisconsin is allowing 62.7, 30th overall.

College Basketball Pick – Illinois by 3

Oklahoma State vs Oklahoma

No. 7 ranked Oklahoma is looking for their 15th win of the season when they take on Oklahoma State. The Sooners are 9-5 in the conference after suffering a tough loss on Tuesday to Kansas State, 62-57. That moved them out of the No. 2 slot in the Big 12 and they may find themselves in a No. 3 spot in the NCAA tournament if they suffer one more loss before season’s end. 

Oklahoma is getting great production out of guards Austin Reaves and De’Vion Harmon, but the rest of the team shot just 28% against the Wildcats. This was something that coach Lon Kruger had recently been warning his team about, and it came to fruition against Kansas State. He is looking for the team to tighten up their game offensively, and they will have their work cut out for them against a very tough Oklahoma State team.

Most will be watching the featured matchup of the game. Reaves is first in the conference in points per game at 18.8 with the Cowboys Cade Cunningham second at 18.6. Statistically, these two are evenly matched, and no doubt one will be trying to outperform the other.

Oklahoma State has won three straight games, including an overtime victory over No. 18 Texas Tech on Monday.

The Cowboys are averaging 75.7 ppg, 80th in the country, while allowing 70.5 points per game. Oklahoma is 94th in points per game and 74.9, while allowing 67.3 per contest.

College Basketball Pick – Oklahoma by 5

Kansas State vs West Virginia

No. 10 West Virginia is looking to move up to a No. 2 slot in the NCAA tournament bracket. It looks like they have a fairly easy task ahead with Kansas State, but the Wildcats are no push over. They are coming off a huge 62-57 victory over No. 7 Oklahoma on Tuesday, and would love nothing more than to knock off another one of their Big 12 foes. 

Kansas State has won two straight games, but that comes on the heels of eight straight losses, including a 69-47 victory by West Virginia back on January 23. The Wildcats are led in scoring by Nijel Pack at 12.1 ppg. 

West Virginia will be looking for their fifth victory in their last six contests. The only blemish was a 91-90 loss to Oklahoma back on February 13. The Mountaineers are led in scoring by Miles McBride at 16.1 points per game. Derek Culver has been outstanding this season, averaging 15.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

Kansas State is averaging 62.0 ppg, the 11th lowest in the nation. They are allowing 71.7 points per contest. West Virginia is 56th in the nation and points per game at 77.6 while allowing 72.1 per contest.

College Basketball Pick – West Virginia by 12

Florida State vs North Carolina

No. 11 Florida State is first in the ACC and are starting to get rolling after a number of Covid-19 cancellations. They have only played four games this month, but have earned victories in each one of those contests, including crushing Miami on Wednesday, 88-71.

FSU is getting outstanding play out of M.J. Walker, who leads the team with 13.1 points per game. Raiguan Gray is second at 11.7 points per game and leads the team in rebounds at 6.9 per contest. He will have to step up his game on Saturday, as Walker is listed as questionable due to an undisclosed injury.

Even without him, FSU has plenty of scoring punch. They are 32nd in the nation in points per game at 79.8, thanks to an exceptional job of shooting by the club. They are 35th in the country in field-goal percentage (47.6), 13th in three-point shooting, 39.1%), and 73rd in free-throw shooting (74.0%). The team has also been exceptional on the glass, 58th in the country in rebounds at 35.1 per game and 14th in blocks at 5.1 per contest.

No doubt North Carolina has their work cut out for them. They have four players averaging in double digits, but where North Carolina looks to take advantage is in the rebounding game. They are fourth in the country at 39.6 boards per contest, with three players averaging better than 7.0 rebounds per game.

Amando Bacot leads the team in scoring at 11.4 points per game and is averaging 7.5 rebounds per contest. Day’ron Sharpe is averaging 10.3 points and leads the Tar Heels at 8.1 boards per game.

North Carolina is averaging 74.2 points per game while allowing 69.4 per contest.

College Basketball Pick – Florida State by 3

Wake Forest vs Virginia Tech 

No. 16 Virginia Tech is playing their worst basketball at the wrong time. They have lost two of their last three games and have not covered the spread in any of those three games. That included a crushing 69-53 loss to Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

The Hokies are suddenly finding it difficult to score. They have been held to under 70 points in five of their last seven games, a little surprising for a team averaging 71.5 points per game. Tech is led by Keve Aluma who leads the team in points (15.5) and rebounds (7.9) per game. Treyce Radford has been a great complement 11.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

Virginia Tech has been a defensive club this season. They are allowing 65.7 points per game, 71st in the nation.

Wake Forest has lost four straight games. They were blown out by Clemson on Wednesday, 60-39. Daivien Williamson leads the team in scoring at 12.7 ppg. He is one of four players averaging in double digits for the Demon Deacons.

Wake Forest is averaging 67.5 points per game while allowing 70.8 per contest. They have been great at the free-throw line, connecting on 74.7% of their attempts, but are only averaging 12.6 free throws per game.

College Basketball Pick – Virginia Tech by 10

Boise State vs San Diego State 

No. 22 San Diego State has quite a contest ahead of them when they take on Boise State on Saturday. The Aztecs are 18-4 while the Broncos are 18-5. San Diego State is first in the Mountain West Conference at 12-3, with the Broncos right behind them at 14-4. A victory by Boise State would put them ahead of the Aztecs in the standings by a half-game.

That is going to be quite a task for Boise State, however. San Diego State has won nine straight games, including a 78-66 victory over Boise State on Thursday. Matt Mitchell led the way with 24 points in that victory, adding nine rebounds as well. Trey Pulliam added 18 points.

The Aztecs are one of the best all-around teams in the country, 61st in points per game at 77.3 and 65th in points allowed at 65.5 per game. They are shooting 46.0% from the floor, 72nd in the nation.

Mitchell leads the team in scoring at 15.6 points per game. Jordan Schakel is second at 14.2 per contest.

Boise State is no slouch themselves. The loss to the Aztecs was their first in the last five games. They know that a victory here puts them in the driver’s seat for the regular season conference title, so no doubt they will come into this game fired up. They will also be looking to get a big monkey off the back, as they have lost five straight games to San Diego State.

Derrick Alston is one of the best shooters in the country at 18.2 points per game. He has a solid complement around him as well, including Abu Kigab, averaging 12.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

Boise State is 89th in the country in points per game and 75.1 and 14th in points allowed at 60.1.

College Basketball Pick – San Diego State by 7

Creighton vs Xavier

No. 11 Creighton will be looking for their fifth straight victory when they take on Xavier on Saturday. Creighton is coming off a crushing victory over De Paul, 77-53. They have won seven of their last eight games, but have covered the spread in just four of those contests. 

The Bluejays are second in the Big East at 13-4, and it does not look like they will surpass Villanova. That puts them at best as a potential No. 2 seed in the NCAA bracket, but they are going to have to take care of business down the stretch to earn one of those spots.

Creighton is one of the best shooting teams in the country, 25th in field-goal percentage at 48.7% and 61st in three-point shooting at 36.7%. That has helped them average 79.0 points per game, 38th in the nation. The combination of Marcus Zegarowski (14.9 ppg) and Denzel Mahoney (14.0 ppg) have been spurring the team, but they have five total players averaging in double digit points per game.

Xavier comes in at 12-5, and a victory here may give them an opportunity for an at-large bid. The Musketeers are led by Zach Freemantle, averaging 16.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. This is an exceptional shooting team as well, averaging 76.5 points per game, but they are not nearly as good defensively as Creighton, allowing 70.4 points per contest while the Bluejays are allowing 68.4 per game.

The Musketeers have a significant advantage on the glass, where they are averaging 35.5 rebounds per game, 48th in the country.

College Basketball Pick – Creighton by 5

Southern Illinois vs Loyola-Chicago 

The No. 22 ranked Loyola-Chicago Ramblers are still looking to earn the top spot in the Missouri Valley Conference. They are tied with Drake at 14-2. However, the Bulldogs hold the tiebreaker. Drake and Loyola split a pair of games two weeks ago. 

The Ramblers are coming off a 54-52 victory over Valparaiso on February 17. While no victory is a disappointing one, they were favored by 19 in the game and won by just two. The team has had a series postponements since then.

Loyola-Chicago is averaging 72.3 points per game, but they have become a one-man band. Cameron Krutwig is the only player averaging in double digits at 15.0 points per game, and leads the team in rebounds as well at 6.6 per contest. No player is averaging more than eight points per game.

However, the Ramblers are not beating teams by outscoring them. They are an outstanding defensive club, holding opponents to 55.7 points per game, ninth in the country. They are a quality shooting team, fourth in the country at 51.1% from the floor, but are only averaging 52.0 shots per game, ninth from the bottom.

Southern Illinois defeated Valparaiso on Monday, 67-64. That snapped a two-game losing streak and they have lost four of their last six. The Salukis are led in scoring by Marcus Domask at 16.3 points per game, but he is out indefinitely. That is a huge blow to a team that was already challenged offensively, averaging 66.9 points per game.

College Basketball Pick – Loyola-Chicago by 19

Alabama vs Mississippi State 

No. 7 Alabama looks to rebound after a disappointing 81-66 lost Arkansas on Wednesday. The Crimson Tide are still first in the SEC 13-2, 1.5 games ahead of Arkansas, so they look like a regular season lock, especially if they can win one more game.

Alabama is doing it behind an incredible scoring machine, averaging 80.3 points per game, 29th in the country. They are taking lots of shots per contest, 16th in the nation in field-goal attempts per game at 63.6 and fourth in three-point shots per game at 30.3. They are hitting on 35.9% of their three-point shots.

The last time these teams met, Alabama defeated Mississippi State, 81-73. However, the Crimson Tide were favored by 9.5 points in the contest, thus not covering the spread.  

Alabama is led in scoring by Jaden Shackelford at 14.1 ppg. He is one of four players averaging in double digits. Herbert Jones leads the team in rebounds per game at 5.7 and is adding 11.4 points per contest, fourth on the Crimson Tide. 

Mississippi State has been an outstanding defensive club, allowing 65.6 points per game, 68th in the nation. They have won their last two games, including a 69-48 victory over South Carolina on Wednesday. The Bulldogs are 7-8 in the conference. Mississippi State is averaging 70.1 points per game.

College Basketball Pick – Alabama by 5

Baylor vs Kansas

No. 2 ranked Baylor looks to keep their undefeated season alive as they take on the No. 19 ranked Kansas Jayhawks. Baylor is coming off a 77-72 victory over Iowa State on Tuesday, but that was a bit of a disappointment. They earned a five-point victory when favored by 24. In fact, in the last six contests they have only covered the spread in three of those games.

It is easy to get excited about what the Bears have to offer, however. They are second in the country in points per game at 86.4 and are 38th in points allowed at 63.3. They are an excellent shooting team, ranked ninth in field-goal percentage at 50.3% and first and three-point shooting at 43.2%. They are also 79th in the country in rebounds per game at 34.6 and seventh in steals per game at 9.7.

Baylor is led in scoring by Jared Butler at 17.1 points per game.

Baylor has their work cut out for them against a very good Kansas team. The Jayhawks are 17-8, 11-6 in the conference, and are 10-1 at home this season. They lost to Texas on Tuesday, 75-72 in overtime, but had won their previous five games, covering the spread in each of those contests.

Kansas has not been nearly as proficient as Baylor, averaging 73.6 points per game while allowing 66.4 points per contest, 83rd in the country. They are 45th in the country in rebounds per game at 35.6.

Ochai Agbaji leads the team in scoring at 13.8 points per game. David McCormack is second both points (13.0) and rebounds (6.0) per game while Jalen Wilson is third in points (12.8) and first and rebounds (8.2).

College Basketball Pick – Baylor by 5

Southern California vs Utah

No. 18 USC suddenly finds themselves a half-game back in the Pac-12 standings and need to keep winning and get a little help to get ahead of UCLA for the conference title. USC was beaten down by Colorado on Thursday, 80-62. That was their second loss out of the last three games.

USC is a complete basketball team, averaging 75.1 points per game, 90th in the country, while allowing 64.8 per contest, 56th overall. They have been great on the boards as well, averaging 36.5 rebounds per game, 26th in the nation. They are shooting 46.6% from the field, 55th overall. 

The problem for the Trojans is that the defense has not been solid of late, allowing 80 to Colorado and 81 to Arizona in their losses.

Utah has been a bit of a challenge for USC of late, as they have split the last eight meetings between these teams. USC beat the Utes back on January 2, 64-46.

USC is led in scoring by Evan Mobley at 16.7 points per game. He is also the leading rebounder at 8.5 per contest. Little brother Isaiah is averaging 7.6 rebounds and 9.3 points per game.

Utah has lost their last four games, including a 76-61 loss to UCLA on Thursday. They are now 6-10 and the conference and are looking to play the role of spoiler down the stretch. Utah is led by Timmy Allen, averaging 16.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

College Basketball Pick – USC by 6

Oregon vs California

No. 23 Oregon looks to continue their domination of California. They have defeated the Bears eight straight times. The Ducks won their most recent contest, defeating Stanford 71-68. However, they have not covered the spread in any of their last three games. They are 6-1 in their last seven games overall.

Oregon is averaging 73.2 points per game, led by Chris Duarte at 17.2 points per game. There are four Ducks players averaging in double digits with Eric Williams averaging 11.1 points and leading the team in rebounds at 6.5 boards per game.

Oregon is 15-5 overall and likely needing a victory here to secure an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament. They may be a lock for that but are looking to move out of a No. 12 or 13 seeding. 

This has been a loss season for the Golden Bears. They are 3-16 in the Pac-12 and 8-18 overall. California has lost three straight games, including a 59-57 loss to Oregon State on Thursday. They do have a big-time playmaker in Matt Bradley, averaging 18.7 points per game. Andre Kelly is second on the team at 10.4 points per contest and he is the team’s leading rebounder at 6.5 rebounds per game.

California’s averaging only 65.4 points per game while allowing 69.8 per contest. Oregon is averaging 73.2 points per game.

College Basketball Pick – Oregon by 9

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