Kansas-Baylor, Tennessee-Alabama among 5 must-watch college basketball games Saturday

LAWRENCE, KANSAS - FEBRUARY 10: Hunter Dickinson #1 of the Kansas Jayhawks shoots against RayJ Dennis #10 and Yves Missi #21 of the Baylor Bears during the first half at Allen Fieldhouse on February 10, 2024 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)
LAWRENCE, KANSAS - FEBRUARY 10: Hunter Dickinson #1 of the Kansas Jayhawks shoots against RayJ Dennis #10 and Yves Missi #21 of the Baylor Bears during the first half at Allen Fieldhouse on February 10, 2024 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)

The men's college basketball season is in its closing stage of conference play across the country. Two weeks remain before Selection Sunday and the field is set for the 2024 March Madness men's tournament.

This final stage includes matchups between some of the top-ranked teams in the country this weekend. Here's five men's college basketball games you won't want to miss Saturday:

Tourney predictions: SEC dominating the upper half of this week's Bracketology predicting the NCAA men's tournament

Men's college basketball: How to watch No. 24 Florida at No. 18 South Carolina

The first top-25 matchup of the day features an SEC battle between the Gators (20-8, 10-5 SEC) and the Gamecocks (23-5, 11-4).

Florida boasts the ninth-best offense in the country behind four double-digit scorers: Walter Clayton (16.8 points per game), Zyon Pullin (15.3), Tyrese Samuel (13.5), and Will Richard (11.4). The Gators put up 66 shots per game - more than any other team in the country. They've won five of their last six games; the sole loss in that period coming against Alabama in overtime.

South Carolina's stronger on the other end compared to Florida with the 22nd-ranked defense in the country. Teams shoot just 41% on average against the Gamecocks this season. Some teams have broken through, though, as SEC foe No. 11 Auburn dominated South Carolina 101-61 in mid-February. Since then, the Gamecocks have won two of three with the sole loss in a one-point game to LSU.

Date: Saturday, March 2, 2024

Time: Noon ET

Location: Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, South Carolina

TV: ESPN, SEC Network

Streaming: ESPN app, Watch on Fubo

South Carolina's favored over Florida at home, according to the DraftKings odds. Looking to wager? Check out the best mobile sports betting apps offering betting promos in 2023.

  • Spread: South Carolina (-2)

  • Moneyline: n/a

  • Over/under: 145.5 points

Men's college basketball: How to watch No. 9 Kansas at No. 14 Baylor

Saturday's ranked matchups continue with a huge Big 12 game between the Jayhawks (21-6, 9-6 Big 12) and the Bears (19-8, 9-6).

Kansas has struggled to string together wins in conference games but the Jayhawks' defense is allowing opponents to shoot just 39.7% from the field, the 11th-best average in the country. Tuesday's 76-68 loss to BYU at home likely keeps them out of position to challenge Iowa State or Houston at the top of the conference standings with just three games left.

Baylor pushed top-ranked Houston to overtime last Saturday but lost 82-76. The Bears are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country at 39.7% this season. Baylor's offense spreads the wealth with six players scoring double figures per game: Ja'Kobe Walter (14.8), Rayj Dennis (13.3), Jalen Bridges (11.3), Yves Missi (11.0), Jayden Nunn (10.6), and Langston Love (11.1).

Date: Saturday, March 2, 2024

Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Location: Foster Pavilion, Waco, Texas


Streaming: ESPN app, Watch on Fubo

Baylor's favored to get a win at home over Kansas, according to the DraftKings odds.

  • Spread: Baylor (-4.5)

  • Moneyline: n/a

  • Over/under: 146.5 points

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Men's college basketball: How to watch No. 5 Marquette at No. 12 Creighton

Saturday continues with a Big East showdown in Omaha between the Bluejays (21-8, 12-6 Big East) and the Golden Eagles (22-6, 13-4).

Marquette's on a 11-1 run over the last six weeks to reach the program's highest ranking in more than 40 years. The Golden Eagles' defense forces 15.6 turnovers per game, 15th-best in the country. On offense, Marquette's top-25 in field goal percentage and assists per game, led by Tyler Kolek's 7.6 assists per game - the most in the country.

Creighton enters Saturday's game having won five of their last six games. The Bluejays knocked off then top-ranked UConn 85-66 Feb. 20 to establish themselves as a threat in the top 25. Center Ryan Kalkbrenner's one of the best shot blockers in the country with 2.9 blocks per game in addition to 17.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.

Date: Saturday, March 2, 2024

Time: 2:30 p.m. ET

Location: CHI Health Center Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska


Streaming: FOX Sports app, Watch on Fubo

Creighton is favored to get a win against fifth-ranked Marquette, according to the DraftKings odds.

  • Spread: Creighton (-4.5)

  • Moneyline: n/a

  • Over/under: 150.5 points

Men's college basketball: How to watch No. 4 Tennessee at No. 13 Alabama

Another SEC matchup with huge implications takes place in primetime between the Volunteers (22-6, 12-3 SEC) and the Crimson Tide (20-8, 12-3). This game features one of the better defenses facing off against the nation's most prolific offense.

Tennessee's allowing opponents to shoot just 38.3% from the field this season, third-best in the country. Dalton Knecht leads the team with 20.8 points per game and tied a season-high with 39 earlier this week in the Volunteers' win over Auburn. Tennessee's gone 7-1 in their last eight games but close the regular season with three straight games against ranked opponents, including the Crimson Tide.

Alabama leads the country in points per game (91.5) and ranks in the top-12 nationwide in three-point (38.1%) and free-throw (79.1%) shooting. Mark Sears leads the way with 20.6 points per game but Aaron Estrada (13.3), Grant Nelson (12.3), and Rylen Griffen (11.6) all average double digits per game as well. Alabama's 8-2 in the last 10 games after losing 91-71 to Tennessee Jan. 20.

Date: Saturday, March 2, 2024

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Location: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Alabama


Streaming: ESPN app, Watch on Fubo

Alabama's favored to get the win over the Volunteers Saturday night, according to the DraftKings odds.

  • Spread: Alabama (-2.5)

  • Moneyline: n/a

  • Over/under: 169.5 points

Men's college basketball: How to watch No. 22 Gonzaga at No. 17 Saint Mary's

The final top-25 matchup of the night features the regulars season finale between the Bulldogs (23-6, 13-2 WCC) and the Gaels (24-6, 15-0).

Gonzaga's on a tear with seven straight wins after their 64-62 loss to the Gaels at home Feb. 3. The Bulldogs boast one of the top offenses in the country; they're fifth in points (86.1) and second in field goal percentage (51.9%) per game this season. Forward Graham Ike's fifth in the country in player efficiency rating (32.4) and leads the team in scoring with 16.7 points per game.

Saint Mary's has stayed perfect in WCC play this season behind one of the best defenses in the country. The Gaels allow just 58.1 points and 20.4 field goals made per game, second-fewest in men's college basketball. Forward Joshua Jefferson ranks fifth in the country in defensive rating this season (86.8). Saint Mary's has won the last 16 games by 21 points on average in a strong showing to close the regular season.

Date: Saturday, March 2, 2024

Time: 10:00 p.m. ET

Location: University Credit Union Pavilion, Moraga, California


Streaming: ESPN app, Watch on Fubo

The Gaels are favorites to make it 17 wins in a row and complete a perfect record in the WCC, according to the DraftKings odds.

  • Spread: Saint Mary's (-2.5)

  • Moneyline: n/a

  • Over/under: 141.5 points

Must-see basketball: Big 12, SEC showdowns highlight the college basketball games to watch this weekend

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kansas-Baylor, Tennessee-Alabama basketball: Today's top college games