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College basketball picks, schedule: Predictions for UConn vs. Villanova and more Top 25 games Saturday

March Madness is getting closer each day for college basketball fans and games are getting more intense as conference title races are heating up across the nation. The bracket is starting to take shape, and another loaded Saturday slate brings more chances for 21 teams ranked in the AP Top 25 to make major statements.
The first game of a tripleheader on CBS will be feartured in the Lone Star State as No. 2 Houston travels to Waco, Texas, to face No. 11 Baylor. The Big-12-leading Cougars are coming off a statement win over Iowa State to stand alone atop the conference with five regular-season games remaining.
No. 4 Arizona is coming off a devastating loss to Washington State that knocked the Wildcats out of first place in the Pac-12 standings. Arizona was a perfect 13-0 at the McKale Center before that loss and will looks to bounce back if it can stay strong at home against Washington.
The final game on CBS features a battle of SEC contenders when No. 17 Kentucky hosts SEC-leading No. 13 Alabama. The Crimson Tide sit at 11-2 in conference play and have a one-game lead over Tennessee with five games left in the regular season. The Wildcats dropped to 8-5 in SEC play after a last-second loss on the road to LSU earlier this week.
Odds via SportsLine consensus | All times Eastern
Villanova at No. 1 UConn
8 p.m. | Fox, fuboTV (Try for free) — Hey, even the best have an off day. That was certainly the case when the Huskies fell on the road earlier this week to a tough Creighton team. The good news for UConn is it’s back at the comforts of home in Storrs this weekend. It’s hard to envision the Huskies playing as badly as they did days prior because of the success they have had the last calendar year. This is still the Big East, however. Villanova needs a boost to its résumé, and the Wildcats should keep this close and cover. Prediction: Villanova +12.5 — Cameron Salerno
Gary Parrish Matt Norlander Kyle Boone David Cobb Jerry Palm Chip Patterson Cameron Salerno UConn -12.5 UConn UConn UConn Villanova UConn UConn Villanova S/U UConn UConn UConn UConn UConn UConn UConn
No. 2 Houston at No. 11 Baylor
12 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free) — Houston is in the driver’s seat to win the Big 12 after a commanding win over Iowa State earlier in the week. The Cougars have won their last four games and this will be the toughest road game left on the schedule. Baylor looked vulnerable during a 78-71 loss to BYU and now they have to face the top-ranked scoring defense in the country. While this could be a letdown spot for Houston after an emotional win, its defense has been too good all year to let that happen. Prediction: Houston -2.5 — Cameron Salerno
Gary Parrish Matt Norlander Kyle Boone David Cobb Jerry Palm Chip Patterson Cameron Salerno UH -2.5 Baylor Baylor Baylor Baylor Baylor Houston Houston S/U Baylor Baylor Baylor Baylor Houston Houston Houston
Washington at No. 4 Arizona
2 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free) — After a stretch marred by instability, Arizona looked like it had finally hit its stride before losing to Washington State. Arizona is simply a different team at home, though. The Wildcats closed as a 13.5-point favorite against Washington State and now find themselves as another large favorite against Washington this weekend. Coming off an emotional loss, this is either a spot for another letdown or an opportunity for a bounce-back performance. Washington is a team capable of covering, hence the former is more likely. Prediction: Washington +14.5 — Salerno
No. 13 Alabama at No. 17 Kentucky
4 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free) — This is destined to be a high-scoring game played at breakneck pace. Both teams are among the best offensively in the country, but both have some defensive issues. Kentucky at its best is capable of beating anyone, but the Crimson Tide are the more consistent team. Rupp Arena hasn’t provided its usual home-court edge this season, which opens the door for Alabama to take another step toward the SEC title while adding a fourth Quad 1 victory to its resume. Prediction: Alabama, Pick ’em — David Cobb
Gary Parrish Matt Norlander Kyle Boone David Cobb Jerry Palm Chip Patterson Cameron Salerno Pick ’em Alabama Kentucky Kentucky Alabama Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky S/U Alabama Kentucky Kentucky Alabama Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky
No. 10 North Carolina at Virginia
4 p.m. | ESPN fuboTV (Try for free) — Virginia’s offense is a tough watch, but the bright side is the defense has played at an elite level. The Cavaliers rank No. 342 nationally in scoring offense, while the defense ranks third in the country. This game is critical in the ACC title race because of how close Virginia, Duke and North Carolina are in the standings. North Carolina should be able to do enough offensively to cover this line and hand Virginia its second home loss of the season. Prediction: North Carolina -2.5 — Salerno
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.

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