The college basketball regular season moves ahead this online betting Saturday. This is the weekend of the SEC-Big 12 Challenge, but there are also a number of important conference games as well. Let’s take a look the best games and the college basketball odds:
Alabama Crimson Tide at Oklahoma Sooners
This is part of the SEC-Big 12 Challenge, an always-intriguing college basketball betting Saturday in which the two conferences take a break from league play to create intersectional matchups which can provide a resume boost for the NCAA Tournament. Alabama is in first place in the SEC, remaining unbeaten in conference play to this point. Coach Nate Oats has managed to create a culture in which his players don’t take plays off. They continue to compete well even when shots aren’t falling.
Oklahoma just won a huge road game at Texas on Tuesday night, after beating Kansas this past Saturday. They now have wins over Kansas, Texas, and West Virginia, which solidifies the Sooners’ place in the NCAA Tournament. Oklahoma is not worrying about whether it will get in. The Sooners are now playing to see how high a seed they can get in March Madness. Alabama and Oklahoma are both overachieving right now. Will these teams feel burdened by pressure or excited to chase the opportunities in front of them? This will be one of the featured games of the whole weekend.
Florida Gators at West Virginia Mountaineers
This SEC-Big 12 Challenge game puts an inconsistent Florida team against a top-20 opponent from the Big 12. Florida had a 22-point lead over Vanderbilt on Wednesday night and then watched that lead get reduced to only four points before winning by seven. Florida takes large portions of games off. The Gators drift through several-minute sequences and don’t always lock in, especially at the defensive end of the floor. The simple reality about this game against West Virginia is that Florida will have to play an airtight 40 minutes or, at least, something very close to it. If Florida has 10 bad minutes in this game, that will probably be too many. The margins are a lot smaller for the Gators than for the Mountaineers in this contest.
Villanova Wildcats at Seton Hall Pirates
This game is a rematch of a game played a week ago. Villanova led by one point in the final seconds, and Seton Hall committed a turnover which ruined its chances of grabbing a big upset win. Let’s see if Seton Hall can make the one or two extra plays it needs to prevail. Seton Hall is not only dealing with the memory of narrowly losing to Villanova; the Pirates are smarting from blowing a 16-point lead to Creighton this past Wednesday night. The Hall needs to find ways to finish games, and it needs to make sure it doesn’t get too depressed or deflated. Seton Hall has to mentally turn the page, which is a lot easier said than done in college basketball and other sports.
Virginia Cavaliers at Virginia Tech Hokies
The Cavaliers have not yet lost a game in the ACC this season. Virginia Tech lost at Syracuse over this past weekend but rebounded on Wednesday to grab a win at Notre Dame. One big question mark looming over this game is the status of Virginia Tech guard Tyrece Radford. He was suspended indefinitely earlier in the week, and he missed the win over Notre Dame. If he remains suspended and unable to play against Virginia, the Hokies will be operating at a huge deficit. Virginia is playing its best basketball of the season, so Virginia Tech badly needs Radford in the lineup if it wants the scoring punch needed to keep pace with the Cavaliers, who enter the month of February in first place in the ACC standings and are trying to add yet another regular-season conference title to their trophy case.
Kansas Jayhawks at Tennessee Volunteers
This game is notable because the Vols will have Jared Springer back in their lineup; he returned to the floor for the Vols in their Tuesday win over Mississippi State. Tennessee has lost three games this season; two losses were games Springer missed entirely, and the third loss was a game in which Springer had to leave early with an injury. Tennessee will bank on this reality to provide a boost against a Kansas team which has lost consecutive games to Baylor and Oklahoma. The Jayhawks are likely to beat TCU on Thursday, but that won’t change their outlook heading into Knoxville. Both teams in this matchup need to prove that they are capable of winning a high-end nonconference game and regaining a winning edge which has been lost over the course of the season. This is a measuring-stick moment for both the Jayhawks and the Vols.
Texas Longhorns at Kentucky Wildcats
The Longhorns just lost at home to Oklahoma, while Kentucky lost to Alabama on Tuesday night. Texas is losing ground to Baylor in the Big 12 standings, while Kentucky remains several games under .500 and is staring at a season in which it won’t play any postseason games after the SEC Tournament. Both teams will have a sense of urgency in this game, but for very different reasons.
Clemson Tigers at Duke Blue Devils
This is a game Duke needs more than Clemson. Duke is 6-5 on the season and needs to find ways to stack together wins. The Blue Devils have not yet been able to get on a roll and stay in a comfort zone. There hasn’t really been much of a comfort zone to speak of for Mike Krzyzewski’s team. Clemson just beat Louisville to halt a losing streak in which the Tigers looked completely lost on the court. If Clemson can follow up that Louisville win with a victory here, it can fully be said that the Tigers have regained their sharpness before a mid-January COVID-19 pause.
Texas Tech Red Raiders at LSU Tigers
This installment of the SEC-Big 12 Challenge gives LSU a chance to enhance its NCAA Tournament resume. Texas Tech is just trying to maintain its seeding position and not lose ground.
Florida State Seminoles at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The Florida State Seminoles are one of the hottest teams in the country, having won a series of blowout victories to skyrocket into the top 20 of the national rankings. Georgia Tech has lost consecutive games to Virginia and Duke. The Yellow Jackets badly need a high-quality win to restore their NCAA Tournament resume and reshape their season.
Arkansas Razorbacks at Oklahoma State Cowboys
This game is a test for two teams with NCAA Tournament aspirations. Arkansas and Oklahoma State have both beaten the teams they are supposed to beat, but neither the Razorbacks nor the Cowboys have beaten a large number of equal or superior teams. This is a proving-ground moment for both sides in the Big 12-SEC Challenge.
Minnesota Golden Gophers at Purdue Boilermakers
Minnesota has been an excellent home team this season. Can the Gophers win against a good opponent on the road? Purdue lost at home to Michigan last Friday. The Boilermakers need to bounce back and show they can advance toward the top tier of the Big Ten, which is arguably the best conference in the country and should be well represented come March Madness.
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