May 18, 2024


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College basketball picks, schedule: Predictions, odds, lines for SEC/Big 12 Challenge

College basketball fans, heed my advice: Do nothing but lounge on the couch all day. Because Saturday’s schedule is an absolute delight. There are 17 ranked teams in action, and headlining the day is the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, the national stage on which eight of those 17 will take.

It starts early and will run late into the evening, too. On deck at noon ET to kick things off is red-hot No. 9 Alabama traveling to take on another team putting things together of late in No. 24 Oklahoma, followed by an afternoon slate that includes Auburn at No. 2 Baylor and No. 10 Texas Tech at LSU.

Capping the day was expected to be a big one in Rupp Arena between No. 5 Texas and Kentucky, but that game has been canceled because of COVID-19 issues that forced a pause within the Wildcats program. The final games of the event will now be the 6 p.m. games featuring Iowa State-Mississippi State and No. 15 Kansas-No. 18 Tennessee.

Mike McClure joins The Early Edge with Jonathan Coachman to dish out his favorite bets in the NBA for Saturday. Download and subscribe to The Early Edge on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Below are picks from our staff for all the games in Saturday’s conference vs. conference showdown both straight up and against the spread.

No. 9 Alabama at No. 24 Oklahoma

When: 12 p.m. | Where: Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Oklahoma
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free) 

OU rewarded me earlier this week with an 80-79 road win when I bet them as an underdog straight up to oust No. 5 Texas, so I’m gonna ride the Sooners until they fail me. Even against a top 10 Alabama team I like their odds at home, where they’ve been 7-2-0 against the spread on the season. Alabama’s won 10-straight but it hasn’t looked completely bulletproof in its last two games. So I like this well-coached, surging OU team to get the win. Prediction: Oklahoma 78, Alabama 75 — Kyle Boone

Texas A&M at Kansas State

When: 12 p.m. | Where: Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas
TV: ESPNU | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free) 

This game might not be a pretty one. Kansas State has lost its last seven games, and Texas A&M has lost five of its last six. But I lean the Aggies way here. They’ve got a better defense and should find a way to score enough on the road inside Bramlage Coliseum, where K-State is a dreadful 1-10 against the spread on the year. Prediction: Texas A&M 65, Kansas State 62 — Kyle Boone

Florida at No. 11 West Virginia

When: 2 p.m. | Where: WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, West Virginia
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free) 

Shorthanded Florida’s cobbled together some wins over the last two weeks, but only one was against a ranked opponent and I’m unsure how to view close wins over Georgia and Vandy. My gut tells me part of this run is smoke and mirrors. West Virginia on the other hand just knocked off a top 10 Texas Tech team and has already shown the mettle to win close games. Fairly even matchup, but I’ll lay the points with the Mountaineers at home. Prediction: West Virginia 80, Florida 70 — Kyle Boone  

No. 10 Texas Tech at LSU

When: 2 p.m. | Where: Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
TV: ESPN2 | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free) 

In Chris Beard I (usually) trust. But I can’t do it here. Not on the road, after two consecutive losses, against an LSU team that’s lost once all season in Baton Rouge. The Red Raiders are 5-9-0 ATS this season as a favorite so I’m fading them here. Prediction: LSU 75, Texas Tech 73 — Kyle Boone  

TCU at No. 12 Missouri

When: 2 p.m. | Where: Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri
TV: ESPNU | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free) 

Old Big 12 meets new Big 12 when No. 12 Mizzou welcomes TCU to town. And I’m betting on the Horned Frogs’ fortunes to, at the very least, look up. (Not necessarily turn, but ya gotta start somewhere.) Yes, they’ve lost four-straight, and yes, Baylor and OU destroyed them, but they cover the number here against a Mizzou team that is just 2-2 ATS at home all season. Prediction: Missouri 74, TCU 68 — Kyle Boone  

Auburn at No. 2 Baylor

When: 4 p.m. Where: Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas
ESPNLive stream: fuboTV (Try for free) 

Baylor is 15-0 on the season overall and 5-2 against the spread at home. But there’s no good reason it should be favored by 16 in this spot. Auburn is a totally different team with Sharife Cooper back in the fold, and while markets catch up to that new reality, it’s an opportunity to take the Tigers to cover this big margin. Prediction: Baylor 85, Auburn 77 — Kyle Boone 

Arkansas at Oklahoma State

When: 4 p.m. Where: Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma
ESPN2Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free) 

Freshman star Cade Cunningham has missed two consecutive games for Oklahoma State, but Mike Boynton said Friday he’s anticipating a return to action for the potential future No. 1 draft pick. If he does — and if he’s his regular self — I think the Cowboys get a home win over a regional foe and cover the number to boot. They’re a different team with Cunningham in the fold with a dynamic, dangerous defense that’s long and athletic enough to give surging Arkansas some real fits. Prediction: Oklahoma State 78, Arkansas 74 — Kyle Boone 

Iowa State at Mississippi State

When: 6 p.m. Where: Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Mississippi
ESPN2Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free) 

You can analyze this game every which way, but here’s the truth: Mississippi State is the better basketball team. Don’t get cute and try to pick an upset here. Could Iowa State cover? Yes. In fact, I think they will; they’re 3-3 as dogs on the season against the spread. But the Bulldogs at home should be in for a bounceback to end their three-game skid. Even in losses to Alabama and Tennessee this week they were very competitive. Prediction: Mississippi State 70, Iowa State 65 — Kyle Boone

No. 15 Kansas at No. 18 Tennessee

When: 6 p.m. Where: Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee
ESPNLive stream: fuboTV (Try for free) 

How often is Kansas an underdog on the road, much less an underdog? The answers for this season: Twice on the road and thrice all year. And the results have mostly been favorable for KU. It is 2-1-0 against the spread as an underdog and 2-0 in those spots on the road. Neither team here is playing inspired ball of late, but the Jayhawks are due for a regression back to the mean for their backcourt after some recent inconsistencies. Just not sure Tennessee has the firepower on offense to get it done here. Prediction: Kansas 66, Tennessee 64 — Kyle Boone 

So who wins every college basketball game today? And which underdogs pull off stunning upsets? Visit SportsLine now to get picks for every game, all from the unbiased model that simulates every game 10,000 times, and find out.