Oklahoma @ #8 Kansas
Monday, February 19th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN
This is a big one for both Oklahoma (16-10, 6-8) and #8 Kansas (21-6, 10-4). Oklahoma has been in an absolute freefall, dropping 5 straight games and losing 8 of their last 10. While Trae Young is still good, the fact that he doesn’t have much of a supporting cast has been made abundantly clear. The Sooners could get a much needed boost with a win over Kansas, however. Kansas also desperately needs this win to keep them tied and/or leading the Big 12 pending Texas Tech’s game. The combination of this being a Kansas home game and Oklahoma’s recent woes should lead to a Jayhawk victory.
#21 West Virginia @ Baylor
Tuesday, February 20th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN2
Baylor (17-10, 7-7) is absolutely on FIRE right now. They’ve won their last 5 straight games, which include two top 10 wins over Kansas and Texas Tech. Baylor’s three point defense in particular has been exceedingly strong over this stretch. #21 West Virginia (19-8, 8-6) took a hard loss against Kansas over the weekend where the Mountaineers got a classic Big 12 refs treatment, sitting on the wrong end of a 35-2 free throw margin. Coach Bob Huggins ripped into Big 12 refs in his post game conference, which concerns me for this game... if Big 12 refs feel the need to appease Huggins, the Bears are going to get some... questionable calls against them. Hopefully that won’t be the case though and the Bears, who should continue their success if their defensive play holds up, will get another critical top 25 win.
#6 Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State
Wednesday, February 21st 6:00 PM CT, ESPNU
#6 Texas Tech (22-5, 10-4) took a tough loss in Waco over the weekend, pulling them back to tied with Kansas for first in the Big 12. Like Kansas, every game is of extreme importance for the Red Raiders, who need to enter the weekend with a win for the critical rematch game with Kansas. Oklahoma State (15-12, 5-9) desperately needs this win too but for much different reasons. Texas Tech is a lock for the NCAA tournament. Oklahoma State is firmly on the outside looking in at this point. The Cowboys have to score some big wins down the stretch to even be in contention for a tournament bid. This would be one of those big wins. However, Texas Tech ought to get this win even though Oklahoma State is favored by one point as of the writing of this article (for reasons I can’t figure out).
73-58 Texas Tech.
TCU @ Iowa State
Wednesday, February 21st 7:00 PM CT, CYCLONES.TV
Iowa State (13-13, 4-10) is functionally out of the running for an NCAA tournament berth barring a Big 12 tournament championship run. TCU, meanwhile, is sitting very precariously on the bubble. This game means a lot more for the Horned Frogs than the Cyclones because of this. But, that pressure can sometimes be as much of a detriment as an expedient. Really this game will come down to if Iowa State decides to shoot the lights out from 3 or not. I’ll assume they don’t, giving the Horned Frogs an important win in the sense of avoiding a “bad” loss.
Texas @ Kansas State
Wednesday, February 21st 8:00 PM CT, ESPNU
Texas (16-11, 6-8) is sitting precariously on the wrong side of the bubble while Kansas State (19-8, 8-6) is sitting on the right side of the bubble. A win by Texas doesn’t eliminate Kansas State from tournament contention, whereas a Texas loss puts them in an even more precarious spot. Texas has lost 3 of its last 4 games in gut punch fashion, but got a win in their last game against the struggling Sooners. Kansas State picked up a strong win over the Cyclones over the weekend. The biggest deciding factor in this game might well be that it will be played in Manhattan, Kansas. K-State gets another win to get a step closer to locking up a tournament berth.
78-75 Kansas State.