College basketball picks, schedule: Predictions, odds for Villanova vs. UConn and other key games

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Selection Sunday is four weekends away, folks. Four! That's 23 days from today. Just over 500 hours. 32,000 minutes (and change). But who's counting, right?

That creeping deadline means conference races are coming down to the wire across the country as teams jockey for NCAA Tournament seeding, and the stakes for each game from here on out get ratcheted up a notch. It's why Saturday's slate of games, with March Madness nearly upon us, should be a nice little appetizer to whet your college hoops whistle ahead of next month.

On tap are six top-10 teams taking the court, four of whom are on the road, along with critical showdowns in the Big 12, SEC, Big Ten, Big East and -- OK, you get it: everywhere.

So to get the juicing flowing for the big day ahead, our staff has done the leg work to make picks straight up and against the spread for Saturday's big games below.

UConn at No. 10 Villanova

When: 1 p.m. | Where: Finneran Pavilion in Villanova, Pennsylvania
TV: Fox | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free) 

UConn could really use a win of this magnitude to safely propel itself onto the right side of the tournament bubble. And after welcoming back James Bouknight this week, who returned from injury with a bang, I'm going to give the Huskies a vote of confidence in this spot. Villanova is the better team with the better record, but UConn is a different team with Bouknight and needs this one bad. Could be a good chance to kick Nova while its down after it took a surprisingly lopsided loss at the hands of Creighton last Saturday. Prediction: UConn 78, Villanova 74. -- Kyle Boone

Kentucky at No. 19 Tennessee

When: 1 p.m. | Where: Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee
TV: CBS | Live stream:  CBSSports.comCBS Sports App (Free)
OTT: CBS Sports App (Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast) 

Prediction: Tennessee is the better team, but Kentucky is playing at a higher level than it was during the first meeting just two weeks ago. The Volunteers should win, but it might be closer than most people thinkPrediction: Tennessee 71, Kentucky 67 -- David Cobb

No. 15 Texas Tech at No. 23 Kansas

When: 2 p.m. | Where: Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free) 

During Kansas' four-game winning streak, only one win -- Oklahoma State -- came against a team that has won more than one game in Big 12 play. So that streak is a tad misleading. Still, KU seems to be figuring out its defense as the season wears on. So if it's a defensive battle like the last time these two teams met, I like the Jayhawks to get the season sweep. And that's indeed how I think this one could shape up. Prediction: Kansas 71, Texas Tech 67. -- Kyle Boone

No. 13 West Virginia at No. 12 Texas

When: 3 p.m. | Where: Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas
TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free) 

Between COVID interruptions and bad fortunes in close games, Texas' 10-1 start to the season has turned into a 13-5 record overall after a rocky month. But a week layover after two consecutive wins should be time enough to help propel it to one of its biggest games remaining in the regular season. At full strength, I like the Longhorns here to get the season sweep on the Mountaineers. Talented, deep and experienced enough to give West Virginia real fits where its strengths lie. Prediction: Texas 80, West Virginia 74. -- Kyle Boone

No. 5 Illinois at Minnesota

When: 3:30 p.m. | Where: Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minnesota
TV: Fox | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free) 

As a home team this season, Minnesota is 9-4-1 against the spread and a perfect 4-0 ATS as a home dog. So, no, I can't bring myself to fade the Golden Gophers here. Not even against an Illini team that's won six straight. Illinois, an upset alert has been issued. Norlander and I are riding Minnesota in an upset pick. Prediction: Minnesota 74, Illinois 71. -- Kyle Boone

No. 7 Virginia at Duke

When: 8 p.m. | Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free) 

The loss of Jalen Johnson for Duke is a tough blow, but the Blue Devils have looked fine --even, dare I say, good! -- during their recent two-game win streak. Additionally, they absolutely need this one to preserve any longshot chance of getting to the tourney. After UVA's beatdown at the hands of Florida State, I'm convinced Duke can give the Cavaliers a game. Prediction: Duke 69, Virginia 67. -- Kyle Boone

So who wins every college basketball game today? And which underdogs pull off stunning upsets? Visit SportsLine now to get picks for every game, all from the unbiased model that simulates every game 10,000 times, and find out.

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