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Sport College basketball picks, schedule: Predictions for Purdue vs. Butler and other top games Saturday

04:48  18 december  2021
04:48  18 december  2021 Source:   cbssports.com

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The last Saturday before Christmas brings plenty of goodies for college basketball fans to unpack, even as COVID-19 cases force some disruptions throughout the sport. Headlining the day's action will be a CBS Sports Classic showdown between No. 21 Kentucky and North Carolina that was arranged after both squads' originally scheduled opponents, Ohio State and UCLA, had to drop out due to COVID-19 protocols.

  College basketball picks, schedule: Predictions for Purdue vs. Butler and other top games Saturday © Provided by CBS Sports

Elsewhere around the country, there will be some big-time in-state rivalry action as No. 3 Purdue takes on Butler in Indianapolis at Noon ET. In the same time window, No. 18 Tennessee will square off with a suddenly potent Memphis squad in a neutral-site game played in Nashville. Just 65 miles to the north, Western Kentucky will host Louisville at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS in another in-state showdown.

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The teams from last season's national title game also face tests away from their home arenas Saturday with No. 5 Gonzaga taking on Texas Tech in Phoenix and No. 1 Baylor putting its undefeated record on the line at Oregon. This will be the Bears' first true road game of the season, and it represents a chance for Oregon to break through with a statement win after a disappointing 6-5 start.

Here's the full rundown of those key matchups from the CBS Sports expert crew.

All times Eastern

No. 3 Purdue vs. Butler (Indianapolis)

12 p.m. | Fox, fuboTV (Try for free) -- Butler is 7-3 but is a double-digit underdog because it lost games against Michigan State and Houston by 21 and 18 points. However, the Bulldogs are on a four-game winning streak since then that includes a 66-62 overtime win at Oklahoma last Saturday. The Bulldogs have several seniors playing big minutes, and their recent improvement suggests they can hang close with a Purdue team that has looked sadly mortal since briefly rising to No. 1 in the polls after an 8-0 start. ATS Pick: Butler +8 | Prediction: Purdue 74, Butler 68

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No. 18 Tennessee vs. Memphis (Nashville)

12 p.m. | ESPN2, fuboTV (Try for free) -- This will be a neutral-site game played at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, but the Volunteers should have an edge considering they have a state-wide fan base and play in the building every year for the SEC Tournament. Memphis is coming off a huge home win over No. 6 Alabama, and expecting the Tigers to expend the energy required to notch a similarly impressive victory over another top-tier SEC opponent just a few days later is a big ask. Tennessee point guard Kennedy Chandler, a Memphis native, should be able to control the pace well enough to keep the Volunteers from losing control like Alabama did against the Tigers. ATS Pick: Memphis +5.5 | Prediction: Tennessee 70, Memphis 68

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No. 5 Gonzaga vs. Texas Tech (Phoenix)

1 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free) -- Texas Tech turned in one of the best defensive efforts of the season by any team in a 57-52 overtime win over Tennessee at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 7. Facing Gonzaga will present a totally different dynamic for the Red Raiders, however, as the Bulldogs' twin towers of Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren will test the Red Raiders' front line. It's been nearly two weeks since Gonzaga lost to Alabama in Seattle, and you can bet coach Mark Few will have his time operating at a much higher level now as the Bulldogs play their final regular season game against a power conference opponent. ATS Pick: Gonzaga -8  | Prediction: Gonzaga 86, Texas Tech 76

Late dunk lifts No. 9 Alabama over No. 14 Houston 83-82

  Late dunk lifts No. 9 Alabama over No. 14 Houston 83-82 TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — JD Davison's putback dunk with 33 seconds left and a final defensive stop gave No. 9 Alabama a 83-82 victory over 14th-ranked Houston on Saturday night for the Crimson Tide's second straight win over a recent Final Four team. The Tide (8-1), which defeated No. 5 Gonzaga last weekend in Seattle, also survived two late attempts by Houston when Kyler Edwards missed a 3-point attempt and Fabian White Jr.'s desperate heaveThe Tide (8-1), which defeated No. 5 Gonzaga last weekend in Seattle, also survived two late attempts by Houston when Kyler Edwards missed a 3-point attempt and Fabian White Jr.'s desperate heave bounced off the rim and was swatted out of bounds by Davison as the clock ran out.

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Louisville at Western Kentucky

3 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free) -- Louisville lost its only true road game to date at Michigan State on Dec. 1, and this environment may be even more hostile given that it's an in-state opponent. The Cardinals are scuffling offensively, and WKU just held Ole Miss to 48 points in a blowout victory. The Hilltoppers should ride that momentum to an emotional victory just over a week after tornadoes wreaked havoc on their region of the state. ATS Pick: Western Kentucky +2.5 | Prediction: Western Kentucky 65, Louisville 64

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No. 21 Kentucky vs. North Carolina (Las Vegas)

5:30 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free) -- Expect Kentucky to play with a bit of desperation in this spot as the Wildcats try and get their first Quad 1 win of the season after an abysmal shooting performance against Notre Dame in a road loss last week. UNC has been among the nation's best outside shooting teams so far this season, but the Tar Heels are still a work in progress defensively. If the Wildcats can hit a few outside shots and control the offensive glass, they can get a much-needed quality win. ATS Pick: Kentucky -2 | Prediction: Kentucky 80, UNC 75

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No. 1 Baylor at Oregon

10 p.m. | ESPN2, fuboTV (Try for free) -- Baylor is coming off a 57-36 home win over Villanova on Sunday that was arguably the most impressive performance by anyone in college basketball this season. The victory vaulted the Bears to No. 1 in the country, but now they must go play a true road game for the first time. Oregon has been a massive disappointment, but the Ducks can score and should get enough of a lift from their home crowd to stay in this game. ATS Pick: Oregon +8 | Prediction: Baylor 66, Oregon 59

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Purdue outlasts Tennessee 48-45 in wild Music City Bowl after controversial goal-line stop .
A Music City Bowl that featured 93 points and nearly 1,300 yards of offense came down to a defensive stop. Purdue and Tennessee went into overtime with the game tied at 45-45. Tennessee opened the extra frame with the ball and opted to keep its offense on the field on a fourth-and-goal play from the 1-yard line. Tennessee’s Jaylen Wright took a handoff and Purdue's front stuffed him.Purdue and Tennessee went into overtime with the game tied at 45-45. Tennessee opened the extra frame with the ball and opted to keep its offense on the field on a fourth-and-goal play from the 1-yard line.

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