CBB Picks: Take LSU, Florida, Michigan State to cover on Saturday's slate

Welcome to the Saturday smorgasbord of college basketball.

You know the deal by now. The college basketball board is massive on Saturdays and there are plenty of picks to choose from.

I'm starting the day off with a few in-form power-conference squads and one that desperately needs a victory to kick start its conference record.

I'll be adding plays throughout the afternoon from the later windows. The ones below are from the first few start times across the country.

CBB Saturday Picks

Overall Record: 89-115-1

Seton Hall at Marquette (-105) (Noon ET, FS1)

Marquette appears to be the more consistent side than Seton Hall.

The Golden Eagles are on a three-game winning streak and they covered in each of those contests. All of those victories were by double figures against teams in the bottom half of the Big East standings.

Seton Hall's last five games featured losses to Providence and Villanova, an overtime win over UConn, an easy win over Butler and a road loss to DePaul.

I'd like to see a little more consistency out of the Pirates before I bet on them again.

Northwestern at Michigan State (-7.5) (Noon ET, BTN)

Do we need to start talking more about Michigan State in the Big Ten title race?

The Spartans started conference play with five straight wins and they should have their way with Northwestern in East Lansing.

Tom Izzo's team beat Northwestern by six points on the road on January 3. It beat Penn State and Nebraska at home by double figures in conference play.

Northwestern is in a tough spot on the road and it may face an emotional letdown after forcing Maryland into overtime on Wednesday.

Florida (-5) at South Carolina (1 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

My bet on Florida is based off the assumption that the Gators can't actually be this bad.

The Gators opened SEC play with three losses against Alabama, Auburn and LSU. That's one of the worst gauntlets to run to open league action.

Florida can finally get its first conference victory in Columbia, South Carolina against an average Gamecocks team that lost by double figures to Auburn, Tennessee and Clemson recently.

I don't trust South Carolina and Florida should have the motivation to get off the mat and move into the middle of the SEC standings.

Arkansas at LSU (-6.5) (2 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Arkansas can't be trusted against good teams in the SEC right now.

The Razorbacks struggled last Saturday against Texas A&M on the road. The final score was close because Arkansas went on a super late run to cut the double-digit deficit.

LSU will not let that happen in Baton Rouge on Saturday. The Tigers are one of the best defensive teams in the country and they covered at home against Tennessee and Kentucky.

I've been so impressed with LSU that I put a futures bet down on the Tigers at +5000 to win the national championship this week.

I love the way Arkansas plays, but the consistency has not been there this season.

UNC Greensboro at Mercer (Over 128) (2 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Mercer is 9-1 to the over in its last 10 games.

Most of those contests had totals in the 130s or 140s. Saturday's matchup with UNC Greensboro is the ultimate test of if that streak can continue against a brutal offense.

UNC Greensboro ranks 350th in adjusted tempo on KenPom and it just gave up 74 points to The Citadel on Thursday.

UNCG averages 64.1 points per game and concedes 63.2 points per contest. Saturday's low total is in play if those averages come to life.

Cornell at Yale (Under 155) (2 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Cornell was one of the best teams to the over until it hit conference play.

The Big Red's games last week with Penn and Princeton went under and that will be in play against Yale.

Yale is coming off a two-week layoff and that could affect how the Bulldogs shoot in the first half as they get their legs under them again.

Cornell went under its last three totals of 155 or higher and it scored 70 points or fewer in four of its last five contests.

Rutgers at Maryland (-4.5) (2 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Rutgers is one of the worst road teams in the power conferences.

The Scarlet Knights combined to score 100 points in their last two Big Ten road games. They produced just 49 points at Penn State on Tuesday.

Maryland hasn't been great this season, but Saturday presents a perfect spot for it to put together a rare winning streak after it defeated Northwestern in overtime on the road.

Brown at Princeton (-3.5) (2 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Princeton ranks in the Top 40 on KenPom in effective field goal, two-point and three-point percentages.

The Tigers are on a six-game winning streak and they produced over 80 points in five of those contests.

Brown is trending in the wrong direction, as it has five defeats in its last six. The Bears covered once as an underdog in that span.

Princeton has the better offense and is the more reliable team to beat on against the spread.

St. Francis (PA) at Merrimack (-4.5) (3 p.m. ET)

Merrimack won and covered in its last three games.

The Warriors do not have a great offense, but they have won games with defense. They held three of their last four opponents beneath 65 points.

St. Francis (PA) reached 70 points once during its six-game losing streak. The Red Flash have five losses by eight or more points during that stretch.

Gardner-Webb at Longwood (-3.5) (3 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

I'm a sucker for a good mid-major betting trend.

Longwood is 7-3 against the spread in its last 10 games.

The Lancers average close to seven more points per game than Gardner-Webb. The two sides have comparable points conceded per game and field-goal percentages.

The difference could be Longwood's three-point shooting, which ranks 28th on KenPom.

Texas A&M (-4.5) at Missouri (3:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

I really like the program Buzz Williams built at Texas A&M.

The Aggies play tough defense and they raised their level over the last year to be near the top of the SEC.

Missouri suffered three double-digit defeats in its last four games. The lone exception in that trend was an upset win over Alabama in which the Crimson Tide were in a typical let down spot.

There will not be a let down for the Aggies on Saturday in a game they should win by 10 or more points.

North Texas at Western Kentucky (Over 124) (4 p.m. ET)

I'll take the bait here.

Western Kentucky ranks 80th in adjusted tempo and scored 80 points in back-to-back games.

North Texas sits on the opposite end of the pace spectrum, but it still put up at least 65 points in five of its last six win contests.

This should be a tight contest and both squads have the offenses to easily hit 65-70 points.

Memphis at East Carolina (+7) (4 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

There is no way I can trust Memphis as a seven-point road favorite.

The Tigers are remarkably inconsistent and they face an East Carolina team that averages over 70 points per game and covered in its last two games as an underdog.

Memphis lost outright in two of its last three AAC road trips and it would not be a surprise to see ECU spring an upset.

Murray State at Belmont (Over 148.5) (5 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Murray State-Belmont is the mid-major game of the day.

Belmont is the established power in the Ohio Valley Conference, but Murray State always seems to be right there in the mix with the Bruins.

Belmont ranks third in two-point percentage and seventh in effective field-goal percentage on KenPom. The Bruins average 82.6 points per game. That seems like a high total, but it is actually lower than Murray State's 83.4 points per game.

That's the perfect formula for a high over to hit.

Stanford (+102) at Washington (6 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)

I love the way Stanford played in its first two games this week.

The Cardinal blew past Washington State in the second half on Thursday and it can finish its week with three wins against an average Washington squad.

Stanford's field-goal percentage is 5.5 percent better than the Huskies and I expect the better talent across the Cardinal squad to show in this matchup.

Alabama (+100) at Mississippi State (6 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

I'm riding Alabama in a big-time bounce-back spot.

The Crimson Tide lost a tough game to Auburn on Tuesday and they need a victory to kickstart their SEC campaign.

I don't know if I fully trust Mississippi State yet and Alabama needs this win more than the Bulldogs. I think the desperation will show through with the Tide.

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