Texas @ Baylor
Saturday, January 6th 1:00 PM CT, ESPNU
Baylor (10-4, 0-2) is desperate for a Big 12 win. While there is no need for alarm yet (all of Baylor’s losses have come to top 25 teams, with injuries effecting many of them), the Bears need to start stringing together some conference wins to get back on track. Texas (10-4, 1-1) is a good opportunity to start that. The Longhorns lost their conference opener to the Jayhawks and then beat Iowa State in OT. The Bears will need a big game from Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. as he will matchup against Texas’ talented freshman, Mohamed Bamba. Homecourt advantage will be critical and Bears fans will need to show up strong. I’ll take Baylor to get its first conference win of the season.
Kansas State @ #18 Texas Tech
Saturday, January 6th 3:00 PM CT, FSSW+
Alright, its come time for everyone in the country to recognize that #18 Texas Tech (13-1, 2-0) is the real deal. They opened conference play with a beatdown of Baylor before soundly defeating the Jayhawks in Phog Allen. The Red Raiders, anchored by their strong defense, should be able to grab another critical conference win at home when Kansas State (11-3, 1-1) comes to Lubbock. The Wildcats, while good, are not conference champion material. The Red Raiders just might be.
74-62 Texas Tech.
Iowa State @ Oklahoma State
Saturday, January 6th 3:00 PM CT, ESPNU
This matchup, while likely unimportant towards the conference championship race, is critical for both teams as Iowa State (9-4, 0-2) and Oklahoma State (10-4 0-2) try to inch themselves away from the bottom of the conference. The winner will pickup a critical conference victory that could move them closer to tournament contention, while the loser will be sitting 0-3 in conference and could be in for a long back half of the season. Iowa State will need a strong performance from stud freshman Lindell Wigginton and big man Cameron Lard. Oklahoma State will need the team to come out with confidence after getting routed by instate rival Oklahoma. Much of that pressure will be on Jeffrey Carroll’s shoulders. I’ll go with the upset on paper and pick the Cyclones.
68-63 Iowa State.
#7 Oklahoma @ #6 West Virginia
Saturday, January 6th 6:15 PM CT, ESPN2
The first of two marquee Saturday evening matchups features #7 Oklahoma (12-1, 2-0) and #6 West Virginia (13-1, 2-0). Oklahoma has the best player in the country in freshman Trae Young. In their conference opener against TCU, Young put up 39 points. In their game against Oklahoma State, he fell one rebound short of a triple double and still put up 29 points. But, Trae Young has yet to face a defense quite like West Virginia’s press. Led by returning point guard Jevon Carter, West Virginia will need its defense to be on point to have a chance in this one. I think Oklahoma is the team that will end Kansas’ regular season title winning streak and this is a critical win for them in that pursuit.
#10 Kansas @ #16 TCU
Saturday, January 6th 8:15 PM CT, ESPN2
#10 Kansas (11-3, 1-1) travels to #16 TCU (13-1, 1-1) in the conference’s second top 25 matchup of the weekend. If Kansas wants to keep its regular season conference winning streak alive, they need to get a win over TCU after dropping their last home game to Texas Tech. TCU got back on track with an overtime win over Baylor after losing its conference opener to Oklahoma by one point. Both of these teams are extremely talented and this will be a close, exciting game. I’ll take the upset and say the Horned Frogs win at home, putting the Jayhawks at 1-2 in conference play.