College basketball picks, schedule: Arkansas vs Auburn predictions and more Saturday’s top 25 games

It’s the first Saturday of 2023 and that means we’ll have a Saturday full of college basketball practice. So empty those pillows, check your pantry to make sure your popcorn supply is fully stocked and get yourself ready, both physically and mentally, for this weekend. Because Saturday is the day you want to stick to the tube for college hoops.

There’s plenty of excitement with the 19 ranked teams set to take the field, and adding to the drama is the ripple effect those games will have on conference races across the country. In the Big East, we have UConn versus Creighton in the noon window. On the SEC, it’s Alabama-Kentucky at 1 p.m. ET. In the Big Ten, it’s 1:30 p.m. EST.

This is just part of what is available.

I called our staff to make some picks for some swirls on the menu dial straight up and against the spread. These choices are below.

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times are oriental

Featured game | Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. All Miss Rebels

2 m | CBS, CBSSports.comAnd CBS Sports app (free) —Oddly enough, the last four games between Mississippi State and Ole Miss were decided by double digits with each team winning two games. But that trend should come to an end on Saturday in a battle between two defensively oriented teams. The Rebels and Bulldogs both struggle with scoring, and every possession should be a battle as both teams try to avoid starting 0-3 in the league. Find Ole Miss to cover in a close match. Choose: Ole Miss +5 (Cobb)

Featured game | Wyoming Cowboys vs San Diego State Aztecs

4 m | CBS, CBSSports.comAnd CBS Sports app (free) — Wyoming got off to a disappointing start after being picked to finish second in the Mountain West behind San Diego State. The Cowboys are missing superstar Graham Ike, who hasn’t played yet this season due to injury, and they’ll have their hands full with the Aztecs’ pitching tandem of Darion Trammell and Matt Bradley. San Diego State is a sound defensive squad that can force opponents to go long runs without scoring. The Aztecs should be able to use this defense to withdraw late. Pick: San Diego State -8 (Cup)

Featured game | Auburn Tigers vs Arkansas Razorbacks

8:30 PM | SEC network fuboTV (Try for free) — Arkansas after being down twice to Trayvon Brazile and Nick Smith Jr. The bettors will probably push for Auburn’s side, especially with this game being a home game for the Tigers. But I’m detouring here to get around with Muss Bus and Arkansas. This team is capable and deep enough to win even if it is not at full strength. The 1-2 scoring combo of Ricky Council IV and Anthony Black is enough for the Hogs to claw their way to a sweet win on the road. Prediction: Arkansas +1.5 (Boone)

Noun | Fox fuboTV (Try for free) — UConn is going injured in this game after losing its last two games after a 14-0 start while Creighton looks to have finally rolled off the carpet with three straight wins after a six-game skid that spanned several weeks from late November to mid-December. I like the one who has momentum right now. The Bluejays are a massive test for any team and I think they are a good match for UConn now that Ryan Kalkbrenner is back in the lineup. Pick: Creighton +8 (Boone)

Featured game | Missouri Tigers vs. Vanderbilt Commodores

12 m | CBS, CBSSports.comAnd CBS Sports app (free) — Missouri’s lack of indoor size could be an issue against Vanderbilt player Liam Robbins, who finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and six blocks in a win over the same smaller size. South Carolina team earlier this week. Robbins is a 7-footer who will challenge the Tigers defense. Missouri should win at home outright, but it could be closer than expected. Pick: Vanderbilt +9 (Cup)

1 m | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — Alabama wins, covering Kentucky in a close game. It’s hard to see how Kentucky’s offense can keep up with Alabama’s fine offensive machine, led by Brandon Miller. But the UK always seems to find a way to keep things close despite its myriad shortcomings. If Oscar Chipuis can continue his dominance in the paint, Alabama will scare well but it won’t be enough. Choose: Kentucky +6 (bon)

Who will win and cover in every college basketball game? Visit SportsLine for picks from the model that simulates every game 10,000 times And it’s up over $1,200 for $100 players on the highest-rated point difference over the past six years.

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