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Big 12 Men’s Basketball Preview 1/28-2/1

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NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Baylor Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

TCU @ #16 Texas Tech

Monday, January 28th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN

#16 Texas Tech (16-4, 4-3) hosts instate rival TCU (15-4, 3-3) tonight. Both teams picked up close wins in the Big 12/SEC Challenge over the weekend, with TCU beating Florida and Tech beating Arkansas. While Texas Tech has struggled some in recent conference play, they still have one of the best defenses in the country. They just need to find a little more offense to go with it. Tech’s last conference win was at Texas. Since then they’ve dropped to Iowa State, Baylor, and Kansas State. Coincidentally enough, TCU’s last conference win was also against Texas, but that was the last conference game they played. Still, I think Tech is the better team, especially at home.

66-60 Texas Tech

Baylor @ Oklahoma

Monday, January 28th 8:00 PM CT, ESPNU

Baylor (13-6, 4-2) is on a major roll right now. They’ve won four straight, including their win over SEC foe Alabama. Oklahoma (15-5, 3-4) lost a couple conference games before beating Oklahoma State and then destroying Vanderbilt over the weekend. Christian James is by far the Sooners’ best player. If Baylor’s strong defense can keep him and the other Sooners in check, they’ve got a good chance. Baylor also needs someone to step up tonight. During their winning streak, it has felt like a different Baylor Bear has stepped up in every game, be it Makai Mason, King McClure, Mario Kegler, or others. The same will need to happen tonight. Mason always seems poised for a big game so it might very well be him. If Baylor does a good job on defense and gets the type of offensive production it has had recently, I like the Bears to keep the streak alive. BUT, I am on an 0-5 picking streak with the Bears. Whatever I pick, the opposite seems to happen. So I’m not going to mess with the major bad luck I have going.

76-73 Oklahoma (Side note, in the last SIX games Baylor has played, one team has scored exactly 73 points. 5 of those 6, it has been the winning team. Gotta throw a 73 in here).

#11 Kansas @ Texas

Tuesday, January 29th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN

#11 Kansas (16-4, 5-2) travels to Texas (11-9, 3-4) for these teams’ second match-up of the season. Kansas beat the Longhorns the first time in Lawrence by two points. Kansas got handled fairly easily by Kentucky this weekend and will need to shake that loss off to continue their quest for another Big 12 title. Texas also lost to their SEC foe, Georgia, and has slid to a precarious spot where they are barely above .500. Texas REALLY needs a win at home against Kansas to keep their tournament hopes in focus. On the other hand, everyone besides Kansas needs a Texas win to help further the cause of dethroning Kansas. If Texas’ defense can show up better than it did against Georgia, I like them here in a close one.

78-76 Texas

West Virginia @ #20 Iowa State

Wednesday, January 30th 6:00 PM CT, ESPNU

#20 Iowa State (15-5, 4-3) picked up a big road win for themselves and the conference against then #20 Ole Miss. They look to continue that success back in conference play against last place West Virginia (9-11, 1-6). The Mountaineers got thumped by #1 Tennessee over the weekend. Their only conference win is against Kansas at home. While West Virginia certainly has the talent to give any team a scare on a given night, I highly doubt that happens in Hilton against this Iowa State team. Iowa State by double digits.

74-63 Iowa State