College basketball picks, schedule: Predictions for Duke vs. Syracuse and more Top 25 games on Saturday
College basketball is entering the home stretch of the 2021-22 regular season, and the last Saturday in February offers several interesting games before March Madness officially arrives. There are NCAA tournament bubble battles, conference titles in the balance and seeds for the big dance at stake in a busy day of games that will last late into the night.
The late-night wave headliner pits No. 1 Gonzaga against No. 23 St. Mary’s as the Zags look to complete their third undefeated WCC campaign in the past four seasons and maintain their status as projected No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Another of the No. 1 seeds projected by CBS Sports bracket expert Jerry Palm will also be in action against a ranked foe on the night as No. 5 Kansas travels to face No. 10 Baylor.
The Bears lost Game 1 83-59 on Feb. 5 and will be out for revenge against the Jayhawks. But a win for KU would put it on the doorstep of a Big 12 title. Other highlights of the day include a triple-header on CBS that kicks off with an in-state showdown between State Oklahoma and Oklahoma at noon, followed by an SEC battle between No. 6 Kentucky and No. 18 Arkansas and a Pac-12 matchup between No. 12 UCLA and Oregon State.
Our experts have picks and predictions for the biggest matches of the day here.
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern
Oklahoma State in Oklahoma
Featured Game | Oklahoma Sooners vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
12 p.m. | SCS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free) — With OU leading scorer Elijah Harkless, offense has been hard to come by for the Sooners the past two games. Oklahoma State limited Oklahoma to just 55 points in the first meeting when Harkless was playing, so it’s reasonable to expect the Cowboys to smother OU again. Look to OSU to win a low-scoring affair and secure its fourth straight victory over its in-state rival. Prediction: Oklahoma State 66, Oklahoma 60
No. 6 Kentucky at No. 18 Arkansas
Featured Game | Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Kentucky Wildcats
2 p.m. | SCS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports app (Free) — Kentucky showed in wins over Alabama and LSU over the past week that they improve at improvisation when forced to play without point guards TyTy Washington and/or Sahvir Wheeler. But the possibility of one or both of those players missing as the Wildcats enter a rowdy environment at Bud Walton Arena in Arkansas portends a bleak outlook for the UK. Look for the Razorbacks to use their fast-paced style in tandem with a decisive home court advantage to secure another big win. Prediction: Arkansas 75, Kentucky 65
UCLA No. 12 at Oregon State
Featured Game | Oregon State Beavers vs. UCLA Bruins
4 p.m. | SCS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports app (Free) — If you’ve been waiting for Oregon State to turn things around and recapture the magic of last season’s NCAA Tournament Magic Race, you might be waiting a while. The Beavers are way behind in the talent department and have shown little to suggest they have an upset of this caliber in the tank. UCLA’s fight with injuries this month makes it a bit of a wild card. But the Bruins are deep enough to handle business here no matter who isn’t available. Prediction: UCLA 80, Oregon State 62
Featured Game | Syracuse Orange vs. Duke Blue Devils
6:00 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — Opponents let it fly against the Syracuse zone, taking an average of 31.1 attempts from 3 points per game. Duke’s 36.8 percent 3-point percentage makes him well-equipped to feast on the outside. In the first meeting, the Blue Devils hit 14 of 37 attempts from deep en route to a 79-59 win. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a similar barrage this time around. Don’t be surprised if freshman phenom Paolo Banchero also rebounds for Duke after arguably his worst game at Virginia on Wednesday night. Prediction: Duke 76, Syracuse 64
No. 5 Kansas vs. No. 10 Baylor
Featured Game | Baylor Bears vs. Kansas Jayhawks
8 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — Baylor games these days begin with a roll call to determine who is healthy enough to play. When the Bears lost 83-59 to Kansas on Feb. 5, they were without leading 3-point shooter LJ Cryer. In the rematch, they will play without big key man Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, who is out for the season with a knee injury suffered on February 12. Cryer’s status also remains uncertain. There are only two players who have appeared in every game this season for Baylor. KU has sailed for most of the Big 12 season without starting point guard Remy Martin, but the Jayhawks have more depth and should be able to complete the sweep. Prediction: Kansas 77, Baylor 70
#1 Gonzaga at #23 St. Mary’s
Featured Game | Saint Mary’s Gaels v Gonzaga Bulldogs
10 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — Is this the time when the West Coast Conference shows its improvement and Gonzaga records a loss that spoils his league unbeaten run? If anyone can beat the Zags, it’s a Saint Mary’s team with home-court advantage. The Gaels are unbeaten at home this season and recently added quality opponents San Francisco and BYU to the list of teams they’ve beaten at the University Credit Union Pavilion. But Gonzaga won the first meeting by 16 and is too good defensively this season to be in real danger here. Prediction: Gonzaga 74, St. Mary’s 63
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