You may be in need of an excuse for your significant other on Saturday as you do nothing but sit around and watch college basketball from early-afternoon until the wee hours of Sunday morning on the East Coast? Have no fear, because I come bearing free advice. Just whisper these three magic words into their ear, and I guarantee the hair on their neck is bound to stand up as they come to understand: This is March.
That’s right, baby. March is here! Saturday represents the final full slate of action among the major conferences for the regular season before postseason play. Drama abounds across the country this weekend as teams look to improve their final standing in league races while making one last push for the NCAA Tournament.
For many, that involves efforts to improve seeding. For some, that involves playing off the bubble and into the main bracket. The stakes, as always, are high with Selection Sunday just over a week away. As such, I’ve convened our team of experts to make predictions both straight up and against the spread for all the day’s biggest games below.
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern
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 inside Pauley Pavilion with a chance to solidify its NCAA Tournament resume for one of the last times as it makes a bid to be a top-two seed. The Bruins will be ready. Arizona’s a feisty bunch that’ll put up a good fight, though, especially after failing to defend its Pac-12 crown successfully from a season ago. ‘Zona covers, Bruins survive. Prediction: Arizona +5.5 — Boone
Duke at North Carolina
Featured Game | North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Duke Blue Devils
6:30 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — UNC is scratching and clawing for its NCAA Tournament life, and a win over Duke might just clinch a spot in the field. How sweet would that be to do against a rival like Duke? This Tar Heels team has underwhelmed all season, but they know the stakes, and I expect they’ll play like a win gets them dancing and a loss may send them to the NIT. Prediction: UNC -2.5 — Boone
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 one on Pitt’s home floor. I think the same result will be true Saturday of the second meeting with the home team again squeaking by in a close one. Winner gets at least a share of the ACC crown, so Miami fans should have the Watsco Center rocking. Prediction: Pitt +6 — Boone
Stanford at Oregon
4 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free) — Oregon’s NCAA Tournament hopes are just a faint flicker at this point. But if the Ducks can get on a run and make some noise in the Pac-12 Tournament, then perhaps they have a chance. There is talent on the roster and some fuel should be in the tank to care care of business against a Stanford team that won the first meeting back on Jan. 21. Prediction: Oregon -7 — Cobb
No. 3 Kansas at No. 9 Texas
4 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — Kansas has already clinched the outright Big 12 regular-season championship, and while Bill Self said he intends to play his stars in this one ahead of postseason play, it’s a game where KU clearly isn’t as motivated as it would be if something real was on the line. Texas, meanwhile, is still fighting for postseason positioning in the Big 12 tourney. So at home with KU coming to town, I think the Longhorns win this in a close one. Prediction: Kansas +2.5 — Boone
No. 23 Kentucky at Arkansas
Featured Game | Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Kentucky Wildcats
2 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free) — Arkansas should play with a sense of desperation as the Razorbacks look to avoid entering the postseason on a three-game losing streak. While they are on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble entering the weekend, a loss could make things interesting heading into the SEC Tournament. Kentucky has some health questions at guard with both Sahvir Wheeler and Cason Wallace nursing injuries, and the Wildcats struggled mightily in this matchup back on Feb. 7. With Arkansas’ home crowd behind it, look for the Razorbacks to handle business and pick up their 20th win. Prediction: Arkansas -4.5 — Cobb
No. 2 Alabama at No. 24 Texas A&M
Featured Game | Texas A&M Aggies vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Noon | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free) — Alabama has made a habit of playing close games recently while dealing with off-court distractions. The Crimson Tide clinched the outright SEC title with an overtime win over Auburn on Wednesday in what had to be an emotionally and physically draining environment. Meanwhile, the Aggies are coming off a Tuesday win over Ole Miss and now have a chance to make a national statement by knocking off the Crimson Tide at home to close the regular season. Look for A&M to capitalize. Prediction: Texas A&M +1.5 — David Cobb
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.