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Big 12 MBB Preview 2/1

Rivalry games highlight a weekend of Big 12 basketball!

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State @ Texas

Saturday, February 1st 1:00 PM CT, LHN

Texas (13-7, 3-4) picked up a very needed, one point win on the road at TCU. They now host Iowa State (9-11, 2-5), providing another solid opportunity for the Longhorns to boost their record and resume. Iowa State fought Baylor tough for a little over half of their last game before, predictably, falling apart. The Cyclones relied far too much on Tyrese Haliburton and Rasir Bolton in their loss to the Bears. The rest of their team did practically nothing against Baylor and have only shown up in sparks here and there throughout the season. That will be a difficult formula to win with on the road against the Longhorns, somewhere Iowa State has struggled regardless of talent.

76-63 Texas

Kansas State @ #12 West Virginia

Saturday, February 1st 1:00 PM CT, ESPN2

#12 West Virginia (16-4, 4-3) took a major hit to their Big 12 title hopes, suffering a loss at Texas Tech during the week. They have to bounce-back now while hosting one of the lesser teams in the conference, Kansas State (9-11, 2-5). Barring a miracle, the Wildcats are out of NCAA Tournament consideration. West Virginia has to take care of teams like that to stay remotely in the race for the Big 12, keep their top 25 ranking, and prevent a late season slide. Luckily, if history repeats itself, West Virginia should cruise to a victory over KState. In the games following a loss so far this season, the Mountaineers have won them all and done it by an average of 28 points. So the Wildcats could very likely be in a world of hurt come Saturday. Even without that stat, West Virginia is just a much better team. The only hesitation: Kansas State beat the Mountaineers by almost 20 points in their prior matchup. I tend to think that was a fluke that coach Bob Huggins won’t allow to happen again. But who knows, maybe the Wildcats have a winning formula against WVU?

78-67 West Virginia

Oklahoma State @ Oklahoma

Saturday, February 1st 2:00 PM CT, ABC

Bedlam Part 1 has Oklahoma (13-7, 3-4) hosting Oklahoma State (10-10, 0-7). Oklahoma is a bubble team that has to avoid bad losses. Oklahoma State is still looking for its first conference game. With rivalries you usually have to throw the records out, at least somewhat. But I just don’t see the Cowboys picking up their first conference win on the road against a pretty good Sooner squad. OSU doesn’t have a good answer to the combo of Kristian Doolittle and Brady Manek. Short answer: The Cowboys are bad this year, especially on the road.

78-57 Oklahoma

TCU @ #1 Baylor

Saturday, February 1st 3:00 PM CT, ESPN2

Speaking of rivalry games, #1 Baylor (18-1, 7-0) hosts rival TCU (13-7, 4-3). The Bears should be excited to get back to the Ferrell Center after surviving a seven-game stretch where they were on the road five of the last seven games. Making it through that with a perfect record is incredibly impressive. Now, Baylor has to take care of business in Waco against a decent Horned Frogs squad. TCU is another Big 12 bubble team who will be hungry for a top notch resume win against a hated rival. However, TCU has struggled mightily as of late as their schedule has geared up. After opening conference play against Iowa State, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State (all in the bottom third of the conference), the Horned Frogs have gone 1-4 in their last five games. The sole win, granted, was over Texas Tech, which is decently impressive. But riding a two game losing streak, which includes a heart breaking one point loss to Texas in their last game, TCU might not have the mental stamina to overcome one of the most suffocating defenses in the country. Combine that with Macio Teague and Mark Vital really shining lately, and the Bears could get a nice blowout win over their rival in front of what should be a packed Ferrell Center. Get to this game folks!

68-52 Baylor

Texas Tech @ #3 Kansas

Saturday, February 1st 3:00 PM CT, ESPN

Baylor fans, we REALLY want Texas Tech (13-7, 4-3) to win this game. #3 Kansas (17-3, 6-1) has been chasing closely behind Baylor ever since the Bears beat them in Lawrence. At this point, it certainly seems like a two horse race between the Bears and the Jayhawks for the Big 12 title (and what that would mean for one seed considerations). Texas Tech and West Virginia make up the clear second tier of the conference. Tech did us a favor on Wednesday, knocking WVU firmly down into that second tier. The Red Raiders could do us an even bigger favor if they manage to beat the Jayhawks in Lawrence. But, as we all know, that is much easier said than done. Tech has had wildly inconsistent three point shooting for much of the season. Some games they are electric, other games they can’t hit the side of a barn. Kansas boasts a top level defense, so its quite possible Texas Tech will be closer to the latter. If that is the case, Kansas probably wins, even if Tech’s Jahmi’us Ramsey has a decent game. If Tech can hit some threes with consistency, however, then this might be close until the very end. Nevertheless, I have to pick the Jayhawks but I hope I’m wrong.

71-63 Kansas