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Big 12 Men’s Basketball Preview 3/9-3/10

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Baylor Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

TCU @ Texas

Saturday, March 9th 11:00 AM CT, ESPN2

TCU (18-12, 6-11) needs this game BAD. They are hanging right in the last four in according to Lunardi’s most recent projections (at the writing of this article). If they lose and get bounced first game in the Big 12 tournament, I doubt the Horned Frogs make the tournament. If they win, I think they might sneak in. Surprisingly, Texas (16-14, 8-9) is considered in a safer position than TCU with a worse overall record. That seems to be due to the quality of some of Texas’s non-conference wins. However, the Longhorns aren’t a lock either. A loss here and a first game loss in the Big 12 tournament would leave them at 16-16. That could very well be too much for the selection committee to stomach. So bottom line, this is a huge game for both teams to further their case for an NCAA tournament bid. Texas has looked much better than TCU recently, so the Longhorns ought to get it done at home.

78-67 Texas

#8 Texas Tech @ Iowa State

Saturday, March 9th 1:00 PM CT, ESPNN

Both of these teams are locks for the NCAA tournament. Iowa State (20-10, 9-8) also has its seeding in the Big 12 tournament guaranteed (a 5 seed). However, #8 Texas Tech (25-5, 13-4) is still playing to win the Big 12 regular season title. A win guarantees them at least a share, a loss means KState would have to also lose for the Red Raiders to get a piece. However, don’t think Iowa State has nothing to play for here. They have been in a terrible tailspin, getting blown out by West Virginia, arguably the worst team in the Big 12. Not only would a win here boost morale, it would also help NCAA tournament seeding. Hilton has been lackluster this year, just like Iowa State’s defense down the stretch. Teams have been shooting the 3 ball well above their season averages against Iowa State. However, if Texas Tech starts missing some open threes, the Cyclones have the weapons to pounce. I like the upset here in a game with practically no pressure on Iowa State and a boat load on Texas Tech.

78-75 Iowa State

Baylor @ #13 Kansas

Saturday, March 9th 1:00 PM CT, ESPN

Baylor (19-11, 10-7) and #13 Kansas (22-8, 11-6) both largely have their postseason fates sealed. Kansas is for sure NOT winning the Big 12 regular season title this year, finally ending their 14 year streak. They are guaranteed to be the 3 seed in the Big 12 tournament and are a lock for the NCAA tournament. Baylor (19-11, 10-7) took a nasty home loss to Oklahoma State on Wednesday, but ESPN still has them as a lock for the NCAA tournament and they are guaranteed the 4 seed in the Big 12 tournament, taking on 5 seed Iowa State. That would lead many to believe this game doesn’t matter. And maybe that is true, to an extent, for Kansas. But Baylor has NEVER won in Lawrence. Ever. If there were ever a time to do it, it would be against this weaker than usual Kansas team. Phog Allen is daunting place to play. But one has to wonder what the atmosphere will be like with no conference title on the line. We haven’t seen it like that in 14 years. Even though the Bears looked gross Wednesday, Makai Mason had a bright first half. Jared Butler was missing some shots he normally hits. If Baylor can get some more good production from a healthier Mason and Butler shakes off his bad game, I think the Bears can get this one. That would be a huge confidence boost going into the post season.

81-77 Baylor

West Virginia @ Oklahoma State

Saturday, March 9th 3:00 PM CT, ESPNN

This is a battle for the basement of the Big 12, but this game could be much better than that title sounds. West Virginia (12-18, 4-13) blew-out Iowa State in Morgantown. Oklahoma State (11-19, 4-13) got a gritty win over Baylor on the road. Both of these teams have no postseason hopes, barring a Big 12 tournament win. But they are both loaded with young talent that is developing late in the season. These teams are much better than they were at the start of conference play. The winner will be the 9 seed in the Big 12 tournament, the loser will be the 10 seed. This is a tough game to call, but I like Oklahoma State at home to get the win and avoid last place.

72-68 Oklahoma State

Oklahoma @ #18 Kansas State

Saturday, March 9th 5:00 PM CT, ESPN2

#18 Kansas State (23-7, 13-4) is playing for a Big 12 championship. A win guarantees them at least a share, a loss would mean Texas Tech would have had to have lost earlier for them to get a piece. Oklahoma (19-11, 7-10), on the other hand, is playing to guarantee their tournament bid. The Sooners should be in, even with a loss here. But if some weird conference tournament results start popping up, you never know what can happen. A win should guarantee them a spot. A loss might mean they’re sweating it out come Selection Sunday. Nevertheless, Kansas State has been determined and good at home. Their defense has been suffocating and Oklahoma doesn’t seem to have the offensive firepower to break through.

68-59 Kansas State