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Saturday's NCAAB Top 25 betting cheat sheet: Evening action

With only one college football game on Saturday's schedule, the attention swings to NCAA hoops. Saturday's slate is backed with marquee matchups, including some big-name showdowns between Top 25 programs. Here's a look at all the Top 25 betting action Saturday evening:

Kentucky Wildcats at North Carolina Tar Heels (-4)

Kentucky’s young team fell in both of its previous chances against a more experienced, ranked opponent. The No. 10 Wildcats will get another chance when they visit No. 21 North Carolina on Saturday in a battle between two of the most storied programs in college basketball. The Tar Heels own a pair of losses, but have plenty of experience knocking off top-10 teams with triumphs over Louisville and then-No. 1 Michigan State already on the resume.

Kentucky’s fabulous freshmen are maturing at different speeds, with Julius Randle and James Young the most consistent through the early schedule. “The mental aspect of getting yourself ready every day,” Randle said about the college experience being more difficult. “It’s not high school or AAU where you can take days off. You have to be ready to compete every day.” North Carolina is surging behind sophomore guard Marcus Paige, who will be dueling with the Wildcats’ Harrison twins on the perimeter.

TRENDS:

* Under is 4-0-1 in the last five meetings.
* Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings in North Carolina.
* Wildcats are 1-8-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings.

New Mexico Lobos at Kansas Jayhawks (-5.5)


Two teams that haven’t played to preseason expectations will collide Saturday night when No. 13 Kansas meets New Mexico as part of the Kansas City Shootout at the Sprint Center. The Jayhawks fell six spots in the rankings after losing Saturday to unranked Colorado and figure to drop a couple more after falling Tuesday to No. 19 Florida. New Mexico opened the season ranked No. 20 but needed two overtimes to beat Alabama-Birmingham and lost to Massachusetts.

Most eyes will be on Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins, a 6-9 guard who is coming off season highs of 26 points and 11 rebounds against Florida. He also made four 3-pointers and blocked two shots for the first time in his college career, even making all eight of his free throws. The Lobos have a guard, a forward and a center each averaging better than 18 points, giving them a variety of methods to sting opponents.

TRENDS:


* Lobos are 5-1 ATS in their last six vs. Big 12.
* Jayhawks are 0-5 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Under is 5-2 in Jayhawks' last seven overall.

Prairie View A&M Panthers at UCLA Bruins (N/A)

Jordan Adams played in the shadow of Shabazz Muhammad for much of last season and now the UCLA guard is taking advantage of his opportunity to shine as UCLA’s No. 1 scoring option heading into its game Saturday evening against visiting Prairie View A&M. Adams is averaging 21.6 points while shooting 51.8 percent from the field, better than the 17.9 points and 44.3 percent shooting Muhammad notched before he was drafted 14th overall by the Utah Jazz last June and then promptly traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Adams has also been consistent, scoring at least 16 points in every game, including four games with 22.

The UCLA player that has NBA scouts especially interested is 6-9 sophomore swingman Kyle Anderson, who already has one triple-double this season and has brushed up against a couple others. Anderson entered the week as the only player in the nation averaging at least 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. His playmaking was stifled in Saturday’s loss at Missouri, however, finishing with 13 points, six rebounds and two assists.

TRENDS:

* Panthers are 5-0 ATS in their last five non-conference games.
* Bruins are 4-0 ATS in their last four home games.
* Over is 4-0 in Bruins' last four home games.

North Dakota State Bison at Ohio State Buckeyes (-14)

No. 2 Ohio State might have more than it bargained for when red-hot North Dakota State pays a visit Saturday night as part of the Blackrock Gotham Classic. The Bison are riding a five-game winning streak and pulled off a big-time upset at Notre Dame on Wednesday behind 26 points from Marshall Bjorklund. Notre Dame coach Mike Brey told the Chicago Tribune that the Bison are “very good — an old, experienced team” and referred to Bjorklund as a “bear.”

The Buckeyes have relied on their traditional lock-down defense, entering the week ranked third in the NCAA in scoring defense (54.5 points allowed per game). After getting blown out by the Buckeyes 86-48 on Dec. 11, Bryant coach Tim O’Shea told the Columbus Dispatch, “There are a few teams in the country that will contend for the national championship legitimately, and clearly Ohio State is one of them. … They play national championship-caliber defense.”

TRENDS:

* Bison are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 non-conference games.
* Buckeyes are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games.
* Under is 5-1-1 in Buckeyes' last seven overall.

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Oregon Ducks (-7)


Mike Moser’s college career has taken a long and winding road, but Oregon’s second-leading scorer will finally get a chance to play in his hometown of Portland on Saturday night when the No. 11 Ducks host Illinois. Moser appeared in just 15 games as a freshman at UCLA, transferred to Nevada-Las Vegas in search of more playing time and produced one solid season and another injury-filled year. Moser went searching for greener pastures again after graduating from UNLV last spring and found it at Oregon, where he’s averaging 15 points and 7.4 rebounds.

The Ducks are benefiting from the arrival of another transfer, junior guard Joseph Young, who averages a team-high 20.1 points on 53.9 percent shooting. The Illini, meanwhile, are also led by a junior guard in his first season with the program. Drake transfer Rayvonte Rice has filled in nicely after the departure of leading scorers Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson, reaching double figures in scoring in every game this season while also contributing 5.7 rebounds.

TRENDS:

* Fighting Illini are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Ducks are 13-3-1 ATS in their last 17 games overall.
* Over is 13-3 in Ducks' last 16 overall.

Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. South Alabama Jaguars (+17)

Gonzaga will try to exploit its mismatch known as 7-1 sophomore Przemek Karnowski for a second straight game when it meets undersized South Alabama on Saturday in the Battle In Seattle. The No. 17 Bulldogs are known more for their guard play led by Kevin Pangos, but they will be a much tougher out come NCAA Tournament time if Karnowski continues to develop and center Sam Dower remains effective. Gonzaga has won five straight since its only loss - 84-79 to Dayton in the Maui Invitational.

Karnowski was humble in his assessment of Gonzaga's 80-76 victory at West Virginia on Tuesday, when he scored a season-high 19 points and matched a career best with 13 rebounds while recording the second double-double of his career. ''The guys were finding me,'' Karnowski said. ''I had great passes, I just had to finish them.'' The Jaguars lost 96-93 at the buzzer in triple overtime at Rice on Dec. 7 to fall to 0-3 on the road and do not have a player in the regular rotation taller than 6-7.

TRENDS:


* Bulldogs are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 Saturday games.
* Jaguars are 2-5 ATS in their last seven neutral-site games.
* Over is 5-1 in Bulldogs' last six overall.

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