College Basketball Picks: Saturday’s Must-See Games

    College basketball picks for five must-see games on Saturday, Feb. 20, including Oklahoma at West Virginia and Baylor at Texas.

    February 19, 2016

    College basketball picks for five must-see games on Saturday, Feb. 20, including Oklahoma at West Virginia and Baylor at Texas.

    The calendar has turned to February, and that means there is less time for a team to bounce back from a tough loss.

    Part of the proving ground of the stretch run is showing you can compete and even beat teams that are supposed to be among the best in the land.

    This coming weekend is filled with some must-see tests. Here are the games you have to go out of your way to watch.

    No. 20 Duke at No. 18 Louisville

    The Blue Devils are rolling again. Duke has won five straight and six of its last seven, including a 72-65 victory over Louisville Feb. 8. That game, of course, was in Cameron Indoor, and now the Dukies have to travel to the Yum! Center to take on a Cardinals team that is still wobbling a bit.

    Rick Pitino’s guys can only play the spoiler from here on out, but they got back on track a little bit in a dunk-fest win over Syracuse Wednesday night. U of L couldn’t handle Grayson Allen or Brandon Ingram the first time around, and it will be critical for the Cardinals to force Duke to hurt them inside instead of allowing the guards free rein on the perimeter.

    Pick: Duke

    No. 11 Miami (Fla.) at No. 5 North Carolina

    Don’t look now, but North Carolina is just 2-3 in its last five games, and it desperately needs to get back on the winning track following the shouldn’t-have-happened loss to Duke Wednesday night. Brice Johnson was a man among boys for three-quarters of that outing, but he disappeared late, and UNC didn’t have an answer.

    Finding a balance on the floor will be critical for the Tar Heels. Miami (Fla.), meanwhile, has been feeling a lack of respect despite its January win over Duke, and picking up a statement win to start a four-game stretch vs. ranked teams would be huge.

    Pick: North Carolina

    No. 25 Baylor at No. 24 Texas

    When these two teams met back on Feb. 1, Baylor was feeling good and playing with plenty of confidence. The Longhorns’ defense took care of that, sucking the life out of the Bears and triggering a skid that hasn’t really righted itself yet. Baylor is 2-3 in its last five, and one of those wins came in a 100-91 OT win over Iowa State.

    West Virginia and Texas Tech has handled the Bears since then, and Baylor needs a win in the worst way. Texas, however, might need it more, and Shaka Smart will have UT’s defense ready to deal with Baylor’s athleticism in Austin.

    Pick: Texas

    No. 3 Oklahoma at No. 10 West Virginia

    Oklahoma is staggering after losing three of four, including a road trip to Texas Tech. Did the Sooners peak too soon? West Virginia, meanwhile, has been inconsistent and showed some signs have having peaked too soon when it gave up 85 points in a loss to Texas last Tuesday.

    Something has to give here, and Buddy Hield’s ability to put teams on its heels will be huge for OU. Hield scored 17 points in Oklahoma’s 70-68 win over WVU Jan. 16, and he knows his ability to dish will be just as important as his scoring in this one. The Mountaineers hope to shake off some of the fatigue that has plagued the team of late and score a huge win at home.

    Pick: Oklahoma

    No. 17 Purdue at No. 22 Indiana

    The Hoosiers are tough to beat at home and feature one of the most explosive offenses in the country. IU can kill teams from the perimeter, and when Indiana’s offense controls the tempo, few teams can match what IU brings to the floor. One of those few teams that has the pieces to give IU problems is Purdue.

    The Boilermakers’ size will give Indiana’s comparatively thin front court fits, and if A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas get IU’s Thomas Bryant in early foul trouble, Indiana can be beat. That said, IU’s guards are much stronger than Purdue’s group in the backcourt, and senior Yogi Ferrell is fearless with the clock winding down. This one should be fun, and it will come down to Indiana avoiding mistakes on the defensive end.

    Pick: Indiana

    MORE: AP Top 25 College Basketball Rankings: Week 15 Takeaways


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