College basketball picks, schedule: Miami vs. Pitt predictions and more Saturday’s top 25 games

Maybe you need an excuse for your significant other on Saturday since all you do on the East Coast from the early afternoon until the early hours of Sunday morning is sit around and watch college basketball? Don’t worry, I’ll come with a free consultation. Just whisper these three magic words in their ear and I guarantee the hairs on the back of their necks will stand up when they understand: This is March.

That’s right baby March is here! Saturday marks the final full list of action among the major conferences for the regular season ahead of the post-season game. This weekend sees drama across the country as teams seek to improve their final league race placement while making a final push to undertake for the NCAA tournament.

For many, this means efforts to improve seeding. For some, that means playing out of the bubble and into the main bracket. The stakes are high as always with Selection Sunday just over a week away. That’s why I’ve called in our team of experts to make predictions both direct and against the spread for the day’s biggest games below.

Odds on Caesars Sportsbook | All times Easter

No. 25 Pittsburgh at No. 16 Miami

Featured Game | Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes vs. Pittsburgh Panthers

6 p.m. | ACC Network, fuboTV (try for free) — Pitt won the first matchup between these two teams in a close on Pitt’s home ground. I think the same result will hold true for Saturday’s second meeting when the home side will again squeak by in a close one. The winner gets at least a share of the ACC crown, so Miami fans should rock Watsco Center. Prediction: Pitt +6 – Boone

Duke of North Carolina

Featured Game | North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Duke Blue Devils

6:30 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (try for free) — UNC claws and claws at its NCAA tournament life, and a win over Duke could secure a place in the field. How cute would that be against a rival like Duke? This tar heels team has been underwhelmed all season, but they know the stakes and I expect they’ll play like a win will make them dance and a loss will send them to the NIT. Prediction: UNC -2.5 — Boone

No. 8 Arizona at No. 4 UCLA

Featured Game | UCLA Bruins vs. Arizona Wildcats

10 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (try for free) — UCLA is the better team and gets the better matchup at home at Pauley Pavilion with a chance to solidify its NCAA tournament resume for one of the last times as it strives for a top two finish. The Bruins will be ready. However, Arizona are a determined bunch who will put up a good fight, especially after failing to successfully defend their Pac-12 crown a season ago. “Zona cover, Bruins survive. Prediction: Arizona +5.5 – Boone

Stanford near Oregon

Featured Game | Oregon Ducks vs. Stanford Cardinal

4 p.m. | CBS,, CBS Sports App (Free) — Oregon’s NCAA tournament hopes are only a faint flare at this point. But if the Ducks can get in there and make noise in the Pac-12 tournament, they might have a chance. There’s talent on the list and some fuel should be in the tank to take care of business against a Stanford team that won the first meeting on Jan. 21. Prediction: Oregon -7 – Cobb

#3 Kansas at #9 Texas

Featured Game | Texas Longhorns versus Kansas Jayhawks

4 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (try for free) — Kansas has already won the full regular-season Big 12 championship, and while Bill Self said he intends to play his stars in this pre-postseason, it’s a game where KU is clearly not as motivated as it is would be if something real was on the line. Texas, meanwhile, is still struggling for postseason placement in the Big 12 tournament. At home, when KU comes to town, I think the Longhorns will win by a narrow margin. Prognosis: Kansas +2.5 – Boone

No. 23 Kentucky in Arkansas

2 p.m. | CBS,, CBS Sports App (Free) — Arkansas should play with a sense of desperation as the Razorbacks try to avoid entering the postseason on a three-game losing streak. While they’re on the right side of the NCAA tournament bubble heading into the weekend, a loss could keep things interesting en route to the SEC tournament. Kentucky has some health issues to guard as both Sahvir Wheeler and Cason Wallace have nursing injuries, and the Wildcats fought a mighty 20th win in that Feb. 7 duel. Prediction: Arkansas -4.5 – Cobb

#2 Alabama at #24 Texas A&M

Featured Game | Texas A&M Aggies vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

noon | CBS,, CBS Sports App (Free) — Alabama has made a habit of playing tight games lately while dealing with off-court distractions. The Crimson Tide clinched the absolute SEC title Wednesday with an overtime win over Auburn in what must have been an emotionally and physically taxing environment. Meanwhile, the Aggies clinched a win over Ole Miss on Tuesday and now have a chance to make a national statement by beating off the Crimson Tide at home to end the regular season. Look for A&M to benefit. Prediction: Texas A&M +1.5 – David Cobb

Who will win and cover in every college basketball game? Visit SportsLine for tips from the model that has simulated every game 10,000 times and has won more than $1,200 for $100 players on its top spread picks over the past six years.

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