February 24, 2024

College basketball picks, schedule: Predictions for Kentucky vs. Gonzaga and more Top 25 games Saturday


Saturday’s college basketball slate is loaded, featuring 22 of the AP Top 25 teams in action as the sport goes with a leaner than usual Sunday slate in observance of the Super Bowl. While the day is light on marquee matchups — No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Baylor is the only game between two ranked teams — there is ample potential for upsets and consequential results.

By 12:30 p.m. ET, four ranked teams will be in action on the road against league foes in a window ripe for at least one surprise. The afternoon then brings a massive doubleheader on CBS as No. 10 Illinois heads to Michigan State, followed by Gonzaga’s trip to No. 17 Kentucky in a rare February nonconference game.

The Spartans and Zags trail only Kansas in consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, but both are living life on the bubble and need to beef up their resumes. Both games should feature raucous environments and plenty of drama as we close in on five weeks until Selection Sunday.

Our experts have picks for those games and for Saturday’s other top showdowns.

Odds via SportsLine consensus | All times Eastern

No. 10 Illinois at Michigan State

2 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.comCBS Sports App (Free) — This one comes down to venue. Illinois is 1-5 in true road games this season, and the only win was a 2-point triumph over a struggling Maryland team. Michigan State is out to avenge an earlier 71-68 loss at Illinois and needs this game for its NCAA Tournament hopes. Plus, the Spartans haven’t lost a home game since Dec. 5. Every home victory in that span has come by at least nine points for Michigan State. Prediction: Michigan State -2.5

4 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.comCBS Sports App (Free) — Kentucky has dropped two straight at Rupp Arena and three home games in total this season. This is a matter of pride for the Wildcats, who got back on track Tuesday by scoring 109 points in a win at Vanderbilt. Gonzaga desperately needs a Quad 1 win, but expecting the Zags to travel across the country and beat an offensive juggernaut like UK is a tall order. Prediction: Kentucky -4

6 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free)  — Kansas reminded us why Allen Fieldhouse is regarded as one of the best home-court advantages of all time last week, when it thrashed Houston by 13 after entering as an underdog. The Jayhawks have their flaws, but good luck beating them at their place. Baylor has a penchant for playing close games, but KU is the right side to pick in this major Big 12 battle. Prediction: Kansas -6.5

8 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — Every single Tennessee victory this season has come by six or more points. When the Volunteers win, which they do often, they trend to win big. With Dalton Knecht’s supporting cast offering substantive contributions as of late, look for Tennessee to carve out some breathing room late against a Texas A&M team that has dropped three home games this season. Prediction: Tennessee -3.5

8 p.m. | Fox, fuboTV (Try for free) — Indiana showed some grit by clawing back from a late deficit to win at Ohio State on Tuesday. After losing by 21 at home to Purdue on Jan. 16, the Hoosiers will be motivated to redeem themselves. Purdue will win, but look for Indiana to put up a fight in one of its final chances to make a major statement. Prediction: Indiana +18.5

Who will win and cover in every college basketball game? Visit SportsLine to get picks from the model that simulates each game 10,000 times and is up more than $1,200 for $100 players on its top-rated spread picks the past six years. 





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