Welcome to another edition of my College Basketball Gambling column!
Saturday offers a great slate of college hoops, from the SEC/Big 12 challenge to intense conference play across the rest of the country. There’s also a lot of ranked teams heading on the road to face un-ranked opponents, and I think several of them could be in trouble.
Year to Date Record: 14-12
Providence (+2) vs. Villanova, 1:00 p.m. CBS
I’m going back to the well with the Friars, who have been great to me in this column and are in a good spot here at home. Villanova has won four straight in impressive fashion, and while Providence has cooled down a bit with two straight losses, the Big East is just so tight right now that I don’t think any team in the league deserves to be favored at Providence, so I’ll take the Friars and the points at home.
Illinois State (-1.5) vs. Southern Illinois, 3:00 p.m. ESPN3
I love this spot for the Redbirds, who are getting a discount at home here against Southern Illinois. The Salukis are coming off a big upset win over Northern Iowa and have a better record than the Redbirds, so they’ll be a very public side, but this is a classic letdown spot against a capable Illinois State team.
Arkansas (-6.5) vs. TCU, 4:00 p.m. ESPN2
There is some great value on Arkansas, who is coming off a loss at Mississippi State while TCU is fresh off an upset win over defending national runner up Texas Tech. Both teams play really tough defense, but I like the Razorbacks’ offensive weapons more, led by stars Mason Jones, Isaiah Joe, and Jimmy Whitt. Laying 6.5 points feels like a discount here, as I like the Razorbacks to roll by double digits.
Richmond (+6) vs. Dayton, 6:00 p.m. NBCSN
Dayton is America’s team right now, as everyone in the college basketball world is caught up in “ObiMania”. While the Flyers attention is well-deserved, the Richmond Spiders are quietly playing great basketball and are on the NCAA tournament bubble. A win against the Flyers is their best chance at making a statement to the selection committee, and the Spiders have the talent to pull off the upset in front of a rocking Robins Center.
Florida (-2) vs. Baylor, 8:00 p.m. ESPN
It’s not often you see an un-ranked team favored against the number one ranked team in the nation, but this game opened as a pick em and the sharp money has moved this line in favor of the Gators. As we’ve seen all season, the number one ranking doesn’t mean a whole lot, and Baylor has serious weaknesses scoring the ball. Florida has the talent to take down the Bears, and I like the Gators to get it done at home.