Top College Basketball Picks for Saturday, February 12th (2022)

Feb 12, 2022 - 1:42 PM

The Saturday slate has some exciting ones. We had to feature a top-20 in-state conference battle, and how will Auburn do after suffering their first loss in 79 days? What I love about these games is they feature some interesting individual battles, especially on the boards. Some of these have players in these games are potential Player of the Year candidates and NBA lottery picks.

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No. 20 Texas vs. No. 10 Baylor (-6) O/U 129.5 (Tip 12 p.m. ET)

Texas is starting to put together an impressive little run as their last three wins have come over ranked opponents (No. 18 Tennessee, No. 23 Iowa State, and No. 8 Kansas). They get their second straight Top 10 opponent when they head to Waco to take on the Bears. This game will be the true test as their last three wins have all come home. Will they be able to handle a hostile environment? The Longhorns are already holding down the top spot in scoring defense, and they know how to force the turnover as they get about 15 of those per game. Baylor is an excellent offensive team averaging 77.8 points per game, but on Monday, Texas allowed Kansas to score under their 80 points per game average in the 79-76 win. They need to do the same to the Bear to win.

Of course, we have to talk about Texas’ defense, but you can ignore Baylors’ either as the team is ranked fifth in the Pomeroy rankings and is 13th in adjusted defense. The Bears are strong on the boards, especially on the offensive side, as they’re 14th in offensive rebound super game. Baylor has forwards Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua and Jeremy Sochan in the frontcourt, but Texas cant counteract with star Forward Timmy Allen, and Tre Mitchell is solid off the bench in what should be fun to watch.

These are two very good defensives that will match up together almost perfectly. Texas already plays at one of the slowest paces in the country, and they will want to limit’s Baylors’ possessions in a challenging road game. With the reduced possessions and both teams’ ability to defend, you should feel confident going under the total than in the spread.

Pick: Under 129.5

Texas A&M vs. No. 1 Auburn (-11.5) O/U 141.5 (Tip 12 p.m. ET)

 You knew it had to come to an end at some point. Auburn suffered their first loss after a 19-game winning streak in overtime to Arkansas earlier this week. On a positive note, the Tigers know how to respond in this situation as their loss before the winning streak was in double overtime against UConn back in November. The writing was on the wall as Auburn struggled, shooting just 24.1% from outside the perimeter and are allowing 77.7 points per game in their last three games. Star guard and potential lottery pick Jabari Smith has hit a skid himself as he’s shot under 45% in four of his previous five games. Texas A&M is not as bad as their record may indicate, so Auburn needs to recover with a strong outing if they don’t want to be upset twice in one week.

You sort of feel bad for the Aggies as they go out every game, play hard, but they cannot come through at the end. Although they’ve lost seven straight, most of them have come down to the wire, including going to overtime against Arkansas like Auburn just did. They’re 4-3 against the spread, and the one double-digit spread they had recently, they hit. The problem for A&M is their streaky offense — sometimes they can get hot and shoot 56% from the floor as they did in their first game against Arkansas, then they could go cold and shoot 39% like against Kentucky.

This game could go either way. You saw Auburn was pressing the last few games, and now that the winning streak is over, they can get back to business. During this seven-game losing streak, Texas A&M has hit the over in each, and Auburn’s totals have gone over 141 in each of their last ten games. There’s more confidence in going for the total than the spread in this one.

Pick: Over 141.5

Florida vs. No. 5 Kentucky (-9.5) O/U 140.5 (Tip 4 p.m.) 

Oscar Tshiebwe is just amazing to watch as the transfer from West Virginia is having a breakout season and is a serious contender for Player of the Year. He’s leading the country in rebounds (15.1 per game), and with that, helps Kentucky be one of the best rebounding teams in the country. Not only can they dominate down-low, but they also have some guys who get from the perimeter, including Davidson transfer Kellan Grady who’s shooting 44.2% from three. This roster is a deep cast of a more veteran Wildcats team than in recent years, and the maturity shows in their gameplay.

As great as Tshiebwe is for Kentucky, so is Colin Castleton for Florida. The 6-foot-11 senior forward is averaging 15.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks while shooting 54% from the field and is undoubtedly going to give Tshiebwe some trouble in this game. Although other than Castleton, the Gators pose much depth as no one else on the team is averaging more than 10 points per game, and forward Anthony Duruji is the only other starter shooting over 50%.

That’s going to be the problem for the Gators in this game. The Wildcats have talent across their starting five, and as great as it will be to watch the Castleton and Tshiebwe battling on the boards, Kentucky holds the clear advantage everywhere else. Florida is riding a nice four-game winning streak, but it’s been against the bottom of the SEC and Oklahoma State, who’s at the bottom of the Big 12. Kentucky will bring them down to earth.

Pick: Kentucky -9.5

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