Hot hoops action for cold Saturday

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There’s nothing better after shoveling your way out of the most recent snow dump than settling down in front of the TV, maybe with a hot toddy at your side, for a long February Saturday of college basketball. So for your previewing pleasure, here below lies a quick advance look at some of this Saturday’s action.

The Atlantic Coast Conference features several important games Saturday. The biggest takes place in Durham when the Maryland Terrapins visit the Duke Blue Devils (1 pm Eastern, CBS). Going into their game at North Carolina Wednesday night Duke leads the ACC at 7-2, with Maryland just a half-game back at 6-2. But the Terps have four starters back from last season, and would dearly love to chase down the Dukies.

Both these teams have been kind to their financial backers this season; Duke is 14-8 vs. the pointspreads, while Maryland is 11-7.

Also in the ACC Saturday the Virginia Cavaliers, 14-7 so far in their first season under new head coach Tony Bennett, visit the Virginia Tech Hokies in a game matching two teams tied for fourth in the conference (8 E, Raycom); and Wake Forest’s Demon Deacons, who are tied with Maryland for second place in the ACC, host the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, who are tied for sixth (8 E, Raycom).

Up in the Atlantic 10 the Rhode Island Rams hit Philly to take on the Temple Owls (4 E). Both teams are 7-2 in A-10 play and are tied for third place, one game back of the first-place Charlotte 49ers.

Over in the Ivy League first-place Cornell’s Big Red visits Princeton’s second-place Tigers (6 E). With a win Princeton would move into a tie atop the Ivy. And remember, the Ivy League awards its NCAA tournament berth to its regular-season champion.

Cornell is 13-5 vs. the pointspreads this season, while the Tigers are 9-3 ATS.

In a good late-season interconference matchup Xavier’s Musketeers, the second-place team in the A-10, visit Florida’s Gators, who are tied for third place in the SEC East (6 E, ESPN).

And the featured game of the day goes off down in Lexington when the Kentucky Wildcats host the Tennessee Volunteers (9 E, ESPN). Kentucky leads the SEC by a game over Vanderbilt, and two games over the Vols, as they try to chase down a top seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

Bettors will also want to check out the updated NCAA championship betting board at The Kansas Jayhawks lead the betting as of Wednesday morning at +200, followed by, among others, Kentucky at +300, Duke at +1,500, Tennessee at +4,000, Georgia Tech at +6,000, Maryland and Wake Forest at +7,500, Florida at +8,000, Temple and Xavier at +12,500, Rhode Island at +20,000, and Virginia and Virginia Tech at +25,000.

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