Saturday Free College Basketball Picks (3/4/11)

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Matchup: Missouri Tigers @ Kansas Jayhawks
Date: Saturday, March 5th, 12:00 ET
Location: Mizzou Arena, Columbia, MO
Game Line: OTB
Over/Under OTB

If the Jayhawks think that they are going to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, they badly need to collect this win on the road. That would take a lot of pressure off for winning the Big XII Tournament, as there are a ton of teams that are going to be gunning for that crown that need wins in big time ways over teams like these. Mizzou really hasn’t played spectacular ball of late, and it really could use a boost just to get some momentum going and to avoid falling into that seemingly inevitably dreaded 8/9 matchup in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Kansas is a far superior team in terms of talent, and it really showed the first time around when these two met at Allen Fieldhouse. Sure, the intensity really kicks up a notch when you’re playing on the road, especially in a game that is this big, but the Jayhawks should be able to handle themselves. The oddsmakers will give too much respect to the Tigers, and KU will get the job done and lock up the regular season conference crown and the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 Tournament.

Free College Basketball Picks: Kansas Jayhawks

Matchup: Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Connecticut Huskies
Date: Saturday, March 5th, 2:00 ET
Location: XL Center, Storrs, CT
Game Line: OTB
Over/Under OTB

The Fighting Irish have to feel like they have a legitimate chance of being a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but they are going to need to win the Big East and probably beat the Pitt Panthers to do it. There’s a chance to draw level for the Big East regular season crown as well, and that’s a coveted thing for any team to have on its resume for a top seed in the dance. Connecticut really just needs to feel like it has to ability to win it all in what will be the last home game for Kemba Walker before he heads to the NBA. Walker can take this game over like none other, and though the Irish will inevitably throw everything they can at him including the kitchen sink, it isn’t going to be enough. Notre Dame will get rocked on the that day is designed for Walker to shine.

Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Connecticut Huskies

Matchup: Villanova Wildcats @ Pittsburgh Panthers
Date: Saturday, March 5th, 4:00 ET
Location: Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Game Line: OTB
Over/Under OTB

Villanova is in a world of hurt right now, as it is really playing poor ball at a poor time of year to be doing so. The Cats have dropped three in a row going into this, the final, and arguably most difficult game of the entire season. They’ve also lost seven out of 11 and don’t look anything like a team that even belongs in March Madness, let alone belongs there as a respectable seed. Pittsburgh’s defense is just downright nasty, as it hasn’t allowed more than 66 points in a game in almost two full months, including a 57-54 win over Nova in the City of Brotherly Love four weeks ago. Ashton Gibbs, Brad Wanamaker, Gilbert Brown… it’s all just too much for the Wildcats to handle right now. They just don’t stand a chance of going into the Steel City and doing any damage, and it’ll show in another lopsided defeat.

College Basketball Free Picks: Pittsburgh Panthers

Matchup: Florida Gators @ Vanderbilt Commodores
Date: Saturday, March 5th, 6:00 ET
Location: Memorial Gym, Nashville, TN
Game Line: OTB
Over/Under OTB

This is a tough one, because both the Gators and the Dores are fantastic at what they do. Believe it or not, Florida already has eight wins on the road this season, which is a ton for a team that really didn’t do much in the way of scheduling out of conference on the road this year (though there are wins against Xavier and Florida State to speak of). Vandy has those 14 wins at home though, and they’re going to be hard to overlook. Chandler Parsons and the crew are very thin, yet they are very talented as well. UF is really hoping to get up onto the No. 3 line or so for the NCAA Tournament, and a win like this would go a long way to ensuring that. We just don’t buy into Vandy though, as there are a lot of fluff wins that just don’t look all that great when push comes to shove. The 21 wins for the regular season is nice, but knowing that the oddsmakers are going to treat this home court advantage worth a whole slew of points, we have to back the blue and orange.

NCAA Basketball Free Picks: Florida Gators

Matchup: Duke Blue Devils @ North Carolina Tar Heels
Date: Saturday, March 5th, 8:00 ET
Location: Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
Game Line: OTB
Over/Under OTB

First place in the ACC and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming conference tournament are on the line in Chapel Hill on Saturday, and the oddsmakers are really going to have to take a close look at just how good they think that UNC really is. The Tar Heels are certainly flying through everyone in the ACC right now, and they were able to do something this past week that Duke wasn’t able to do: Beat Florida State on the road. Granted, the Noles didn’t have Chris Singleton, but it was UNC’s second win against the garnet and gold this year, and the first time around, Singleton was playing, and the game was a blowout from the get go. This challenge against the Dookies the first time around was a solid one, as North Carolina challenged the whole way and blew a huge lead. This time, it will make amends and make things right. The Carolina Blue clad nation will be out and in full force in a game that is going to feel like the Super Bowl on Tobacco Road. Coach K knows that there are bigger and more important battles to fight than this one, and though the Blue Devils will end up losing this battle, their goal is to win the war and to defend their NCAA Championship.

College Basketball Expert Picks: Duke Blue Devils

Matchup: Texas Longhorns @ Baylor Bears
Date: Saturday, March 5th, 9:00 ET
Location: Ferrell Center, Waco, TX
Game Line: OTB
Over/Under OTB

We know that this isn’t a Top 25 battle, but this is arguably the most meaningful game of the entire day. For the Longhorns, they’re hoping to snap out of this two game funk and to get back on track for a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Winning this one and winning the Big XII would still inevitably get the job done. However, a loss and an early exit from the Big XII Tourney could result in a disastrous No. 4 seed, which could make the first round of the dance very, very interesting. Jordan Hamilton, Tristan Thompson and company have the talent to beat anyone in America, but thanks to how inexperienced this club really is, nothing is a guarantee. For Baylor, it really needs this signature win to pad its resume for the NCAA Tournament. A loss will likely leave it with a lot of work to do to get into March Madness. A win will almost certainly get the job done with just one win in the Big XII Tournament (and even that might not be necessary). There’s too much on the line here for Baylor to get beaten, and we tend to believe that it will get the job done once and for all and make its case to go dancing.

NCAA Basketball Free Picks: Baylor Bears

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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