This is the fourth full weekend of college basketball action in the 2021-22 season, and the Saturday slate brings some quality action involving ranked teams. While some conferences are already starting league play, the day’s docket is highlighted by nonconference games, including a showdown between No. 3 Gonzaga and No. 16 Alabama.
The Zags and Crimson Tide tip off at 8 p.m. ET in Seattle in what should be a home-like environment for Gonzaga. It will be a bounce-back spot for both schools as the Bulldogs look to show their 84-81 loss against Duke last Friday was nothing more than a speed bump. Alabama also suffered its first loss last week, and it was a bit more embarrassing.
The Crimson Tide dropped a 72-68 thriller against Iona and Rick Pitino. Since those losses, both Gonzaga and Alabama have won games. But Saturday will be their first meeting since against high-quality opposition. Below, our staff has predictions for that game and for several key matchups from a busy Saturday slate.
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern
12 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — Memphis just lost on the road against a Georgia team that is far worse than Ole Miss. The Rebels are much better defensive team than the Georgia and should be able to continue frustrating a Tigers’ offense that looks bewildered. Ole Miss has handled the lesser foes on its schedule but fallen short against quality opponents Marquette and Boise State. This time, they will break through in a big spot at home. Prediction: Ole Miss 63, Memphis 60
Marquette at No. 23 Wisconsin
12:30 p.m. | Fox, fuboTV (Try for free) — The Badgers have been one of this season’s top surprises, having now rattled off four straight wins against Texas A&M, Houston, Saint Mary’s and Georgia Tech. But Marquette has shown its merit in wins over Illinois, Ole Miss and West Virginia. The Golden Eagles should keep it close, but home court advantage will help the Badgers avenge last season’s last-second loss at Marquette. Prediction: Wisconsin 72, Marquette 69
San Diego State at No. 24 Michigan
1 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free) — Expect a motivated Michigan team after its 21-point loss to UNC. The Wolverines already have one home loss and should play with an edge in the effort to avoid another one. San Diego State’s Nathan Mensah is a great interior defender, but the Wolverines have more size and can wear the Aztecs down in this game. Prediction: Michigan 68, SDSU 64
2 p.m. | FS1, fuboTV (Try for free) — This is Tennessee’s first true road game, and the fact that it comes at altitude makes it even more of a challenge. But the Vols have a deep rotation that hould be able to outlast a young Colorado squad. The Buffs got smacked by UCLA on the road Wednesday in a game that exposed some of their defensive flaws. Prediction: Tennessee 81, Colorado 73
No. 16 Alabama vs. No. 3 Gonzaga (in Seattle)
8 p.m. | ESPN2, fuboTV (Try for free) — A loss to Iona took some wind out of Alabama’s sails, but the Crimson Tide still have the makings of a top SEC team under third-year coach Nate Oats. Alabama can match up with the Zags on the perimeter, but containing Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren will be nearly impossible for this team. Freshman center Charles Bediako will need to play the game of his life and stay out of foul trouble for the Crimson Tide to have a chance. Prediction: Gonzaga 94, Alabama 81
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