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Big 12 MBB Preview 2/10-2/12

Baylor vs. Texas Round 2 and more critical matchups!

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma State at Baylor Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

#1 Baylor @ Texas

Monday, February 10th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN

I’ve got good news for you, Bears fans. #1 Baylor (21-1, 10-0) shouldn’t have to play Oklahoma State again this season (it would likely require some weird circumstances in the Big 12 tournament). That’s good, because the Cowboys have certainly been the toughest out for Baylor in conference play so far. After getting a narrow home win, Baylor now has to quickly turn around and travel to Texas (14-9, 4-6) for a very important Monday night game. Texas looked like they were going to run Texas Tech out of the building in their last game until the Red Raiders came storming back and won. Texas is in a very precarious spot now for the NCAA tournament and would desperately like to boost their resume with a win over the top team in the country. However, it looks like Texas will have to play without Kai Jones and Jase Febres, who were both injured in their game against Tech. Baylor has played well on the road and this should be no exception. The Bears took down Texas way back in their conference opener, thanks in large part to Baylor playing stifling defense. Potentially one of the biggest things in this game and moving forward for Baylor, as we saw in the OSU game: the Bears need to make their free throws, especially on the front end. If that doesn’t get shored up, it will cost Baylor sooner or later. I don’t think that will be the case tonight though as Baylor takes on a shorthanded Texas squad.

78-63 Baylor

TCU @ #24 Texas Tech

Monday, February 10th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN2

TCU (13-10, 4-6) had Kansas on the ropes until the last couple minutes when a string of costly errors pushed Kansas to victory against the Horned Frogs. They now have to travel to #24 Texas Tech (15-8, 6-4) who got a very needed, comeback victory over Texas. TCU will likely push Tech some in this game, but the talent difference is pretty sharp. Tech plays great defense and good enough offense to grind out a win against TCU, who will once again rely too heavily on Desmond Bane.

71-63 Texas Tech

Oklahoma State @ Kansas State

Tuesday, February 11th 8:00 PM CT, ESPNU

So this is a weird game to pick. Oklahoma State (11-12, 1-9) obviously fought very hard against Baylor. Kansas State (9-14, 2-8) got dismantled by a bad Iowa State squad. However, neither of these teams inspire significant amounts of confidence. Oklahoma State has had Baylor’s number for some reason, but has looked pretty bad in most other games. Kansas State has the home court advantage here and that might be enough to tip the balance: I just don’t think Oklahoma State has the ability to get over the hump and get a conference road win.

65-61 Kansas State

#3 Kansas @ #14 West Virginia

Wednesday, February 12th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN+

Here’s a big one for Baylor fans to watch. #3 Kansas (20-3, 9-1) still sits just one game behind Baylor in the Big 12 race. #14 West Virginia (18-5, 6-4) is a solid third place team in the conference this season: they’re good, but the race for the conference title is firmly between Baylor and Kansas. I’ve heard some argue that they want Kansas to keep winning so Baylor has an elite road win. While there’s some truth to that, Kansas suffering a road loss to the Mountaineers wouldn’t substantially change that. What it would do is give Baylor a very slight amount of breathing room. Most Bears would say we want WVU to win this. Can they do it? The Mountaineers suffered a disappointing road loss to Oklahoma this weekend. As I said in my preview of that game, I figured they would lose to Oklahoma because they seem to drop a conference game every 2-3 games and were due. Here’s the flip-side to that stat: West Virginia has won its very next game after each conference loss and they’ve done it by an average of 20.3 points. While Kansas is likely too good to suffer a 20 point loss here, the Mountaineers have a knack for bouncing back and Morgantown should be rocking Wednesday evening. The Mountaineers came close in their first matchup with Kansas in Lawrence, with Oscar Tshiebwe having a big game. They finish the deal this time around.

71-69 West Virginia

Iowa State @ Oklahoma

Wednesday, February 12th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN2

Both of these teams picked up much needed wins over the weekend. Oklahoma (15-8, 5-5) upset West Virginia to keep itself in the tournament picture. Iowa State (10-13, 3-7) took out Kansas State in definitive fashion to give itself a slight amount of separation from the bottom of the conference. Interestingly, in their last matchup, Iowa State blew the doors off of Oklahoma in Ames. It’s hard to tell if Iowa State has a path to success figured out against the Sooners (much like Oklahoma State seems to have against Baylor) or if that was just a very down game for Oklahoma and a very up game for Iowa State. While the Cyclones are still showing some fight, Oklahoma has the talent to pick up another very important conference win at home. Also, it doesn’t help that news just broke minutes ago that Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State’s best player by a wide margin, is out for the rest of the season with a fractured wrist.

75-60 Oklahoma

Overall Prediction Record

46-14 (76.6%)