The final football weekend of 2019-20 means that college basketball, as usual, will have an overload of Saturday games before the light assortment of tips on Sunday prior to the Super Bowl kicking off.
Saturday has 151 games — so, 302 of the 353 teams — playing. Below, we have five of the more interesting matchups, including an urgent Saturday game for Memphis, which has a lot of pressure at home against unpredictable UConn. Last weekend brought us a lot of chalk. It was aberrational. Ranked teams went 19-3. It was oddly refreshing to see the better teams win out, with some of those coming on the road.
This weekend has 12 of the 25 teams in the AP Top 25 rankings in road environments. Who to keep an eye on? We’ve got your picks below, plus the latest podcast to listen to, which includes even more picks for Saturday and Sunday games.
All times ET
UConn at Memphis (-5.5)
1 p.m. on CBS and streaming on CBSSports.com, the CBS Sports App and CBS All-Access) )
Memphis is on a slide after losing two of its last three. UConn is on a slide after losses in four of its last five games. Both teams need some momentum. The winner can claim some needed juice here, and Memphis — which is still clinging to at-large hope for the NCAA Tournament as a 10-seed in Jerry Palm’s updated projections — is the slight favorite. I like laying the points on the Tigers, who have more to play for and have been good on the whole at home. They’re 7-5-0 against the spread this season as home favorites. Pick: Memphis -5.5 (Kyle Boone)
No. 14 Michigan State (-4.5) at Wisconsin
1 p.m. on Fox and streaming on fuboTV (Try for free)
The only reasonable explanation I’ll accept for backing Wisconsin here is simply to play contrarian after a week of bad news in Madison. Brad Davison was suspended by the Big Ten for his low blow in the loss to Iowa and Kobe King fired some parting shots at the coaching staff as he decided to leave the program in the middle of the season. That puts the Badgers in a disorienting spot, down two starters against the best team in the Big Ten. If Sparty shows up with their shoes laced, they should win by 10. Pick: Michigan State -4.5 (Chip Patterson)
No. 6 Louisville (-3.5) at NC State
2 p.m. on ESPN
I know it’s a road game for Louisville, but NC State is struggling The Wolfpack have lost two straight, including a ten point loss at home to North Carolina. NC State lost at Georgia Tech before that, giving the Yellow Jackets a season sweep. Road games are never easy, but the Cards should be able to cover this small number. Pick: Louisville -3.5 (Jerry Palm)
No. 13 Kentucky at No. 17 Auburn (-2.5)
6 p.m. on ESPN
Kentucky on the road in a big game in the SEC. It happens often. UK has one loss in its last nine games, a freakish 3 at the buzzer at South Carolina. Auburn actually rates right about the same area in most predictive metrics at this point as UK. But with how well Nick Richards, Immanuel Quickley and Ashton Hagans have been playing, I will take Kentucky to win straight up. Auburn’s been wobbly as of late. This is the Tigers’ first game vs. a ranked team this season. Expect Kentucky to win a slower-paced affair — and an improved effort from Tyrese Maxey. He’s due. Pick: Kentucky +2.5 (Matt Norlander)
No. 9 Duke (-6.5) at Syracuse
8 p.m. on ESPN
The Orange are down, relative to their own historical standards, which is disappointing given that they’re one of the biggest brands in the sport. But Syracuse is still a top-55 KenPom team, one that’s 5-1 in its past six games. And this is still the Carrier Dome. So while I don’t believe Syracuse will win, put me down for Jim Boeheim and the points. Pick: Syracuse +6.5 (Gary Parrish)