#7 Kansas @ Kansas State
Monday, January 29th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN
The Sunflower Showdown is always important in the state of Kansas, but this one has added significance. #7 Kansas (17-4, 6-2) and Kansas State (16-5, 5-3) are in a battle for first place in the Big 12. A win by Kansas helps separate them that much more from the rest of the field. A win by Kansas State brings Kansas back into the pack and gives KState a share of first place. The Wildcats got a nice win against Georgia over the weekend and the Jayhawks blewout a downward spiraling Texas A&M. I expect a close, hard fought game, as games between these two teams usually are. But it always seems like Kansas gets some controversial calls late and wins by a point... so that’s what I’m predicting.
TCU @ Oklahoma State
Tuesday, January 30th 6:00 PM CT, ESPNU
The Big 12/SEC challenge was not a good time for either of these teams. TCU (15-6, 3-5).... I mean come on, how did you lose to Vanderbilt—who was 7-13 coming into that game? Oklahoma State (13-8, 3-5) dropped a one point game to Arkansas. Really these are the two teams I most heavily blame for the Big 12’s first ever loss to the SEC in the challenge. But frustration aside, both of these squads need this win badly. Can TCU get itself figured out without Jaylen Fisher? I don’t think they do in this game, which is at Oklahoma State.
68-65 Oklahoma State.
Baylor @ #12 Oklahoma
Tuesday, January 30th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN2
Baylor (12-9, 2-6) has fallen into a frustrating pattern as of late. They have let teams jump ahead to early, big leads, mostly behind strong 3 point shooting. Then, the Bears are forced to battle just to hang around the 10 point deficit mark. Its not a very good strategy for winning games. The Bears have to get off to a faster start on offense and a stronger start on defense. If they don’t, Trae Young and #12 Oklahoma (15-5, 5-3) are going to shred Baylor early from beyond the arc and the Bears won’t be able to recover. I’d love to say I can see something else happening in this game but the writing has been on the wall for the past few weeks. The Bears have got to figure out what has been causing their bad starts, and I don’t think playing at Oklahoma will help.
#15 West Virginia @ Iowa State
Wednesday, January 31st 6:00 PM CT, ESPNU
Iowa State (11-9, 2-6) is a frustrating team to watch this year. Anyone who has followed them knows they have a lot of very raw, very talented players. Some games, that talent is overwhelming, like their blowout win over top 10 Texas Tech. Other times, the raw youth of the team is overwhelming, like in their meltdown loss to Tennessee over the weekend. The extreme highs and lows makes predicting outcomes for Iowa State difficult. But, with an injury to Nick Weiler-Babb and some questionable ball handling to begin with, I think the Cyclones will likely get routed by West Virginia in Hilton.
84-67 West Virginia.
Texas @ #10 Texas Tech
Wednesday, January 31st 8:00 PM CT, ESPNU
Both Texas (14-7, 4-4) and #10 Texas Tech (17-4, 5-3) picked up quality non conference wins over their SEC opponents this weekend. With momentum carrying over for both, it will be interesting to see which team takes advantage of it this Wednesday. Texas could use this win to keep them above .500 in conference play and Texas Tech needs it to keep them in the race for a Big 12 regular season title. I think the Red Raiders at home will be a bit too much for the Longhorns to handle, behind star Keenan Evans.
78-67 Texas Tech.