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Big 12 Men’s Basketball Preview 2/25-3/1

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Texas Stephen Spillman-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma @ Iowa State

Monday, February 25th 7:00 PM CT, ESPN2

Iowa State (19-8, 8-6) is on a major slide. They took two losses last week, getting swept by Baylor and TCU. They have functionally thrown themselves out of the Big 12 race and are now simply playing for seeding purposes. They host Oklahoma (17-10, 5-9) who scored a win over rival Texas and a win at TCU. Oklahoma lost by a single point at home to Iowa State in their last matchup. You would think that would mean Iowa State should win at home by a little more than that. However, Iowa State has been not great at home this season and is in the middle of a major slump. Two days is not nearly enough time for Iowa State to completely turn itself around. Oklahoma could really use this win to get a stronger foothold on a tournament bid. Sooners win a close one.

71-69 Oklahoma

#16 Kansas State @ #15 Kansas

Monday, February 25th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN

I don’t think I can possibly do justice to just how important this game is for the Big 12 race. #15 Kansas (20-7, 9-5) is in an extraordinarily precarious position, sitting tied for third in the conference, two games behind conference leader #16 Kansas State (21-6, 11-3). The Wildcats beat the Jayhawks in Manhattan a few games ago, now they’ll need to follow up in Lawrence to secure their position even further. KState destroyed Oklahoma State by 39 over the weekend, while Kansas took a 29 point loss in Lubbock. These teams are trending in totally opposite directions. I’ve got to imagine there will be a feeling of desperation in Phog Allen amongst the fans and players as Kansas’s streak is on the verge of ending. Lawrence is still a terribly difficult place to win, but I think this is the year. Wildcats get it done and deliver the knockout punch to the Jayhawks.

75-71 Kansas State

TCU @ West Virginia

Tuesday, February 26th 6:00 PM CT, ESPNU

TCU (18-9, 6-8) picked up a much needed win over Iowa State this past weekend. They now travel to Morgantown to take on West Virginia (10-17, 2-12). The Mountaineers have no tournament chance (unless they somehow win the Big 12 tournament), but they’re still putting up some fight. They showed just as much as they took Baylor down to the wire in Waco. TCU ought to be able to get this win, but depending on how the whistles get blown, it could be closer than the Horned Frogs would like.

78-66 TCU

Oklahoma State @ #11 Texas Tech

Wednesday, February 27th 6:00 PM CT, ESPNU

#11 Texas Tech (22-5, 10-4) just got one of the biggest home wins in program history over the weekend, completely dominating Kansas from start to finish to win by 29 points. They now have a solid grasp on second place in the Big 12, one game behind Kansas State. Should the Wildcats falter, Texas Tech is poised to jump right up to first and make a play for the Big 12 title. They host Oklahoma State (10-17, 3-11) who followed up the high of a big win over TCU with an absolutely devastating 39 point loss to Kansas State. Oklahoma State joins West Virginia as really the only two Big 12 teams definitely out of the tournament. Texas Tech should know how important this game is to their title chances. Red Raiders win big.

76-53 Texas Tech

Texas @ Baylor

Wednesday, February 27th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN2

Baylor (18-9, 9-5) has vaulted itself back up to third in the Big 12, within striking distance of the conference leaders. They got two huge wins last week, winning in Ames and defending their home court against West Virginia. Texas beat Oklahoma State earlier last week before losing by two to rival Oklahoma. The Longhorns are also without star Kerwin Roach II, as he has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules. The Bears lost their last match up with the Longhorns, a game where both Makai Mason and King McClure got banged up. McClure still hasn’t returned for the Bears and Mason has been in and out of games, clearly not as comfortable as he was only a few weeks ago. Baylor should know that Texas will plan to face-guard Mason as much as possible, a strategy they found success with their first game. Baylor will need a better game plan than the last time around. However, the loss of Roach for Texas changes the dynamic a lot. I think that will be enough for Baylor to get an edge and a critical home win.

68-64 Baylor