NCAA Basketball Must-Bet Saturday Games

NCAA Basketball Must-Bet Saturday Games

We had history in college basketball this week as Purdue reached No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll for the first time. Purdue was knocked out in the first round of last season’s NCAA tournament but returned its top eight scorers. Here’s a look at two other games around college basketball on Saturday that feature ranked teams. Purdue faces NC State on Sunday and should have no problem there. Check back for NCAAB odds.

Expert Analysis Season 2021 College Basketball

Missouri at #8 Kansas

It’s the Border War between former Big 12 rivals – they still won’t play each other in football since Missouri left for the SEC years ago. Tipoff is Saturday at 3:15 PM ET on ESPN from Allen Fieldhouse.

These rivals haven’t played since a charity exhibition game in 2017, and not in a true game Kansas’ nail-biting 87–86 victory over the Tigers in 2012, just before Missouri departed for the SEC. The Jayhawks lead the all-time series 172-95, having first played in March 1907.

Missouri (5-4) will be a sizable underdog as this is a very young team. The Tigers warmed up for Kansas with a 72-44 rout of Eastern Illinois on Tuesday. Mizzou ended the first half on a 17-4 run, going up by double-digits as Eastern Illinois would not cut the lead to less than nine the remainder of the game.

As a team, the Tigers shot a season-high 51 percent from the field, including 50 points in the paint. Mizzou dominated the glass, outrebounding the Panthers 42-21 and snagged a season-high 11 steals. Amari Davis and DaJuan Gordon led Mizzou offensively, scoring 15 and 14 apiece. Kobe Brown tallied his third consecutive double-double, throwing down 11 points and 11 rebounds. Brown’s four double-doubles on the season tie for the second-most in the SEC.

Kansas (7-1) routed UTEP 78-52 on Tuesday. KU started the game on a 10-0 run. UTEP was held without a point until making a basket with 13:23 remaining in the first half. Kansas shot 53.6 percent (30-of-56) from the field, its sixth game this season shooting at least 50.0 percent. Kansas held a 42-21 advantage at the half. The 21-point margin was a season-most at the break. KU has led at the half in all eight games this season.

Senior Ochai Agbaji finished with a game-high 23 points on 9-of-12 (75.0 percent) shooting, five rebounds and three assists in 31 minutes. He has now scored 20+ points in six of eight games this season and 13 times in his career. Junior Christian Braun had 20 points on 9-of-13 (69.2%) shooting and six rebounds in 28 minutes. Braun has scored at least 20 points in consecutive games for the first time in his career.

#11 Arizona at Illinois

This could be an Elite Eight NCAA Tournament preview as Illinois hosts at 5 PM ET Saturday on FOX. The schools last met early in the 2019 season and Arizona cruised 90-69.

Arizona is ranked 11th in the Associated Press poll for the second straight week, but moved up to #8 in the Coaches Poll. From 1949 through this week, Arizona has appeared in the AP Top 25 a total of 552 times, the eighth-most in the country.

Arizona is one of 4 teams nationally to have 3 players averaging 15.0+ points per game. UA leads the nation in assist rate (71.9%), assists per game (23.0), scoring margin (+33.8) and scoring offense (91.3). Arizona also ranks in the top 10 nationally in FG% defense (2nd), defensive rebounds (3rd), assist/turnover ratio (4th), blocked shots/game (6th), and total assists (9th). UA’s average possession length is just 14.2 seconds, the third-fastest pace in the country.

Illinois definitely will be ranked in the next poll after an 87-83 upset at an excellent Iowa team on Monday. For the first time since 2017, Illinois came out of Iowa City with a win to secure the first Big Ten road game of the season. The Illini’s balanced offensive attack — with four guys scoring over 15 points — helped elevate them to their fifth straight victory.

Alfonso Plummer and Jacob Grandison each had 21 points and four three-pointers against Iowa. It marked the fifth game in a row Plummer has scored 21 points or more. Trent Frazier and Kofi Cockburn were also instrumental on offense, scoring 18 and 17 points, respectively. Cockburn added a career-high 18 rebounds, recording his 32nd career double-double.

Illinois was +29 on the glass (52-23), outrebounding its eighth opponent in nine games. Illinois entered the night ranked eighth in the NCAA in rebound margin, and is now at +14.2 rpg on the season. Illinois grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and converted those into 24 points. The Illini were +13 in second-chance points (24-11). Illinois is off to a 2-0 start in Big Ten play for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

Expert Picks

  • Kansas and Illinois

 

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