Each week during the college basketball season, I will offer my picks and predicted final scores for the biggest games on Saturday as well as some mid-major matchups. This way, when the lines are released Friday evening, you'll have at least one Vegas pro's opinion as to what the final scores might look like and the teams you should be looking to wager on.
Here's a look at six key Saturday TV matchups, including North Carolina-Duke, Kentucky-Florida, Indiana-Michigan and Arizona-Oregon.
Note: Teams in bold are my projected ATS picks.
No. 14 North Carolina Tar Heels at No. 4 Duke Blue Devils
The Tar Heels have finally had a few days to rest after a grueling seven-game stretch over 17 days. "We're going to be able to rest our bodies a little bit, go back to practice, evaluate ourselves and have good hard practices to prepare us for Duke," senior guard Leslie McDonald told The Daily Tar Heel. "I think it's a wonderful time. It's a great time. I'm pretty sure all my teammates and myself are going to enjoy this little break."
I can't imagine a quote that would make me less enthusiastic about supporting North Carolina as an underdog here despite its current 12-game winning streak and eight-point victory as the underdog in the first meeting between these rivals. Duke is coming off a poorly played loss at Wake Forest, a game in which coach Mike Krzyzewski was feeling light-headed and after which he was admitted to the hospital. After each of their first six losses of the season, the Blue Devils responded with wins -- over Syracuse, Virginia and Michigan, plus blowout wins against three lesser foes. The Tar Heels' 12-game winning streak ensures this point spread won't be too high to lay in what is very much a statement game for the home favorite.