The college basketball regular season roars into action on Saturday. Teams are trying to establish themselves in the upper tiers of their conferences and send important statements to conference rivals. Let’s dive deeper into the online betting matchups for the biggest contests.
St. John’s Red Storm at Creighton Bluejays
The Creighton Bluejays just hammered the Seton Hall Pirates. Creighton looks like a team that can make the Elite Eight if not the Final Four. Creighton’s offense is extremely efficient, and the Jays get production from different scorers each night. St. John’s will have a tough time handling the Creighton offense, and Red Storm head coach Mike Anderson has to find a way to get his struggling team out of a rut.
Oregon Ducks at Utah Utes
This is an important game for both teams. Utah’s game against Oregon State earlier in the week was postponed due to COVID-19. The Utes lost to USC and UCLA last week and need a pick-me-up at home. Utah has been a notoriously bad road team in recent years, but the Utes are strong at home. They have a chance to get a quality win. However, Oregon just lost at Colorado and will attempt to avoid a two-game losing streak. Both teams are therefore playing to prevent a multi-game losing streak from occurring. That’s the mark of a significant game in conference play.
USC Trojans at Arizona State Sun Devils
USC and Arizona State faced difficult games on Thursday against Pac-12 foes Arizona (for USC) and UCLA (for Arizona State). The Trojans downed Arizona while the Sun Devils fell to UCLA. USC freshman Evan Mobley is drawing buzz as a possible top-five pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Arizona State has Remy Martin, a dazzling scorer who surprisingly came back for another year. Whoever wins this game will take a significant step forward in the battle for an at-large berth in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
Kentucky Wildcats at Florida Gators
The Wildcats are getting back Keion Brooks after he missed extended time due to an injury. The Florida Gators are trying to reconfigure how they play without Keyontae Johnson, their star scorer whose health condition has ended his season, and possibly his basketball career. Both teams badly need this game — Kentucky to work toward a .500 record; Florida to avoid what would be a bad loss on its home court. Kentucky coach John Calipari is trying to rescue his team’s season, while Florida coach Mike White – the successor to program legend Billy Donovan – is trying to meet the high expectations of a fan base that is becoming impatient with a lack of high-end success in Gainesville. This will be an entertaining SEC matchup with tight college basketball odds.
UCF Knights at Tulsa Golden Hurricane
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane have been the most pleasant surprise in the American Athletic Conference. Tulsa recently upset league favorite Houston and has produced several quality wins. UCF won at Florida State and has shown signs of potential, but the Knights recently lost to South Florida and have to find a way to regain momentum. It is going to be hard against a Tulsa team that has excelled at the defensive end of the floor this season. UCF’s win at Florida State was built on a hot-shooting display, but when opponents are able to bother UCF with defense, the Knights haven’t regularly shown the ability to win a lower-scoring, grinding type of game.
Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Tigers
The Alabama Crimson Tide recently won on the road at Tennessee, the team picked by many to win the Southeastern Conference. Alabama played aggressive interior defense, denying Tennessee dribble drives or easy post-ups near the basket. The Crimson Tide hit five 3-pointers in a row at one point, moving the ball and making sound decisions against a formidable Vols defense. Alabama will try to keep the momentum going against an Auburn team that has self-imposed a one-year NCAA Tournament ban due to worries about an ongoing NCAA investigation. Auburn might not be able to play in the postseason but the Tigers would love to play spoiler for Alabama and throw a wrench into the Crimson Tide’s March Madness plans.
Texas Longhorns at West Virginia Mountaineers
This is a top-15 matchup. Texas is No. 4 in the national polls and is 3-0 in the Big 12 for the first time in many years. West Virginia will be playing without Oscar Tshiebwe, an elite recruit who recently entered the transfer portal. The Longhorns have the edge, given that the Mountaineers are now scrambling to adjust their lineup after Tshiebwe’s departure.
Clemson Tigers at North Carolina Tar Heels
Clemson broke a 59-game losing streak at North Carolina last season. Can the Tigers – who fended off a challenge from North Carolina State earlier this week — continue to win close games? Clemson has been solving problems and gaining solutions almost every time it plays under coach Brad Brownell. The Tigers have a chance to keep the magic going against a North Carolina team that has struggled to score, especially in the backcourt. North Carolina’s perimeter shooting has been poor. Clemson will try to win this game on the road with its defense.
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