Saturday figures to be one of the most loaded slates of the college basketball season to date with the annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge the major event of the weekend in which nine of the 20 ranked teams are in action. The action will tip early and run all the way into the night culminating with a No. 9 Kansas at Kentucky matchup at 8 pm ET to polish off the slate.
The Big 12 has rated as the top conference in college hoops this season after rating No. 1 last season, but the SEC carries some bragging rights into the weekend having won each of the last two challenges after forcing a tie in the series in 2019-20. The Big 12 still has a 4-3 edge in winning the event since its inception in 2013-14 (there were two years in which the leagues tied) as well as a 48-41 overall record. But the SEC has been up for the challenge in this event and has some favorable matchups to potentially be the first league to three-peat since the Big 12 did so the first three years.
Our experts have picks and predictions for the day’s biggest games here.
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern
Featured Game | West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Auburn Tigers
12 pm | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — Kicking off the predictions with an upset pick! Auburn’s a fiesty bunch that can play both inside and outside through Wendell Green and Johnny Broome. West Virginia’s a tough out, especially in Morgantown, but talent for talent I think I like the Tigers by a smidge to make this close and possibly pull off the upset in the first game of the day. Prediction: Auburn +4 — Boone
Featured Game | Oklahoma Sooners vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
2 p.m ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — Alabama’s blew some really good teams in the sport out this season — among them Kentucky, Missouri and Michigan State — but I think OU keeps this one close. This Crimson Tide team has not lost since mid-December but it has flirted with defeat several times in recent outings. The Sooners and their depth at home will keep it tight and within the number. Prediction: Oklahoma +6 — Boone
Featured Game | LSU Tigers vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
2 p.m ESPNU, fuboTV (Try for free) — LSU has lost seven-straight and Texas Tech has lost eight-straight, so this one on paper seems to be a pretty even matchup of struggling teams. But during that span the Red Raiders have at least been competitive while the Tigers getting blown out by an average of 24.8 points per game in its last four. I’m fading LSU until it shows it doesn’t deserve to be faded. Prediction: Texas Tech -3 — Boone
Featured Game | Missouri Tigers vs. Iowa State Cyclones
2 p.m ESPN2, fuboTV (Try for free) — Pretty evenly-matched game here between ISU and Mizzou — really good defense from the Cyclones vs. a really good offense from the Tigers — so I’m just going to lean the home team. The only losses Missouri has taken on its home floor this season were to possible No. 1 seeds in Kansas and Alabama so if I’m getting points for the home team I will take it. Prediction: Missouri +1.5 — Boone
Featured Game | Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. TCU Horned Frogs
4 p.m ESPN2, fuboTV (Try for free) — This TCU team is red-hot coming off double-digit wins over Kansas and OU so I like them to keep it rolling on the road against a bottom-tier SEC club. The Bulldogs have stayed competitive even as their 11-0 start has slipped to a 12-8 record so I do expect this one will be close, but riding the hot hand here with the Horned Frogs. Prediction: TCU -2 — Boone
Featured Game | Baylor Bears vs. Arkansas Razorbacks
4 p.m ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — Davonte Davis has emerged as a difference-maker for Arkansas of late with Ricky Council IV slumping a bit and No. 1 overall recruit Nick Smith Jr. still sidelined with a knee injury, but this Arkansas backcourt will be overmatched by Baylor and its three-headed backcourt trio of Keyonte George, LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler in Waco. These two teams are going in opposite directions so I’ll take the one that’s surging of late. Prediction: Baylor -6 — Boone
Featured Game | Tennessee Volunteers vs. Texas Longhorns
6 p.m ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — Another upset pick. Think this has a chance to be the best game of the weekend. Texas has a top-shelf offense and it goes on the road to face a Tennessee team built around its No. 1-ranked defense. My concern is whether or not the Vols have the horses to keep up with the Horns. Tennessee hasn’t had that problem of late but this Texas team is built in such a way that it could pull off this win even in a road spot. Prediction: Texas +7.5 — Boone
Featured Game | Kansas State Wildcats vs. Florida Gators
6 p.m ESPN2, fuboTV (Try for free) — Kansas State has yet to lose at home all season under first-year coach Jerome Tang and that streak won’t end this weekend with Florida rolling into the Octagon of Doom. The Wildcats are 8-3 ATS at home this season, too, so I like laying the numbers with them in this spot. Prediction: Kansas State -5 — Boone
no. 9 Kansas at Kentucky
Featured Game | Kentucky Wildcats vs. Kansas Jayhawks
8 p.m ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — One of the most fascinating elements of the Kentucky-Kansas matchup is how KU’s undersized approach in the front court will fare against UK’s interior monster Oscar Tshiebwe. While UK has grown more flexible and versatile defensively amid a role reduction for undersized point guard Sahvir Wheeler, the Wildcats haven’t played an offensive as dynamic as Kansas’ since getting torched by Alabama on Jan. 7. If the Jayhawks can use their undersized groupings to draw Tshiebwe away from the basket and force Kentucky to guard players like Jalen Wilson, Gradey Dick and Kevin McCullar 1-on-1 off the dribble, it could be a long night for UK. Prediction: Kansas +1 — David Cobb
Featured Game | Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Ole Miss Rebels
8 p.m ESPN2, fuboTV (Try for free) — This Oklahoma State team’s got some sass to it and looks like it could be a sneaky second-weekend team with the way it can play inside and out with veteran guard play and a difference-making pair of bigs in Kalib Boone and Moussa Cisse. I like the Pokes to pull this one off in a close one. Prediction: Ole Miss +10 — Boone
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.