Iowa State @ Oklahoma
Friday, March 2nd 8:00 PM CT, ESPN2
Iowa State (13-16, 4-13) is functionally done this season barring a Big 12 tournament championship. Oklahoma (17-12, 7-10) is playing like it is done this season, even though they are still widely considered “in” the tournament. A second loss to the Cyclones might be enough, however, to seriously cast doubt on the Sooners’ ability to make the field. Iowa State beat the Sooners earlier in the season in Ames. I’m doubtful they’ll be able to replicate, however, with starters Nick Weiler-Babb and Solomon Young out for the season. But, Oklahoma has just looked so bad recently, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Cyclones pulled an upset.
#20 West Virginia @ Texas
Saturday, March 3rd 11:00 AM CT, ESPN
These two teams have very different reasons for wanting to win this game. #20 West Virginia (22-8, 11-6) is a lock of the NCAA tournament. They want to win this game to lock up a #2 seed in the Big 12 tournament and increase their seeding in the NCAA tournament. Texas (17-13, 7-10), meanwhile, is looking simply to guarantee themselves a spot in the tournament. A win against a top 20 Mountaineers squad would do wonders for their resume. However, the Mountaineers annihilated the Longhorns the last time they met, winning by 35 points. While homecourt advantage might make up for some of that for Texas, I doubt it flips this game into a win.
84-68 West Virginia.
Baylor @ Kansas State
Saturday, March 3rd 1:00 PM CT, ESPN
Kansas State (20-10, 9-8) has been riding the bubble for most of the season. While they seem to have pulled away into the “in” category, their last two losses to Oklahoma and TCU have not locked them up just yet. Baylor (18-12, 8-9), on the other hand, is in a more perilous position, sitting in ESPN’s “Last Four Byes” category. The blowout win over Oklahoma did a world of good for the Bears. Now, they need to find a way to beat the Wildcats to functionally lock themselves into the tournament. Finishing at .500 (with opportunities in the conference tournament still lingering) in the nation’s toughest conference SHOULD be enough to squeak the Bears into the tournament. The Bears need to get a win in Manhattan, KS to secure that. If Jo Lual-Acuil, Jr., Manu Lecomte, and Terry Maston play even 80% as well as they did against Oklahoma, I think the Bears finish out the regular season with a critical win.
#6 Kansas @ Oklahoma State
Saturday, March 3rd 3:00 PM CT, ESPN
#6 Kansas (24-6, 13-4) has already secured itself the top seed in the Big 12 tournament. Now, they’re fighting for seeding in the NCAA tournament, with a potential 1 seed on the line. Oklahoma State (17-13, 7-10) is currently firmly on the outside looking in for the tournament. However, a win here and a string of wins in the Big 12 tournament could get the Cowboys into tournament discussion. So, both of these squads want this win for very different reasons. Oklahoma State beat the Jayhawks in Lawrence earlier in the season. But, Kansas has looked far better in recent weeks. Kansas wins in Stillwater.
TCU @ #12 Texas Tech
Saturday, March 3rd 3:00 PM CT, ESPN2
This game is all about NCAA and Big 12 tournament seeding. #12 Texas Tech (22-8, 10-7) has a chance to tie for second in the conference with a win here and a West Virginia loss. Admittedly, I am unsure how the tie breaker works given that both teams have one win and one loss against each other. TCU (21-9, 9-8) has essentially locked itself into the NCAA tournament field. Now they’re fighting for tournament seedings. A lot of Big 12 teams have a chance to finish at .500, including the Horned Frogs. I’d imagine they’d like to avoid that mess, win this game, and lock up a good seeding. TCU lost by 12 in their last game against the Red Raiders, and that was at home. But, Texas Tech has looked bad recently, losing four straight. I like TCU to win this one in a close, defensive struggle.