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Big 12 MBB Preview 2/17-2/19

Baylor looks to extend the longest winning streak in Big 12 history and a host of other conference showdowns!

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Baylor Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State @ #3 Kansas

Monday, February 17th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN

Wow, Iowa State (11-14, 4-8) totally surprised me against Texas. Not only did the Cyclones pick up a conference win without star Tyrese Haliburton, they absolutely dominated the Longhorns in all phases of the game, winning by a margin of 81-52. The Cyclones now face an entirely different challenge traveling to #3 Kansas (22-3, 11-1). This weekend once again solidified that the Big 12 race is absolutely only between Baylor and Kansas. Kansas took down Oklahoma by the tune of 17 points, 87-70. Typically, Iowa State has been a bit of a thorn in the side of the Jayhawks. And with Iowa State beating Texas the way they did, maybe they have figured out a winning combination? Still, I have significant doubts Iowa State will replicate against the Jayhawks in Lawrence.

89-78 Kansas

Oklahoma State @ #17 West Virginia

Tuesday, February 18th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN2

Oklahoma State (13-12, 3-9) certainly picked an interesting time in the season to start heating up. The Cowboys nearly beat Baylor and then beat Kansas State and Top 25 Texas Tech. Their shooting has gotten much better recently, allowing them to hang with difficult teams. Now they travel to #17 West Virginia (18-7, 6-6) who desperately needs a win to break a three game losing streak to Oklahoma, Kansas, and Baylor. The loss to Baylor was particularly ugly, with the Mountaineers never getting close to contesting the game (even while Baylor’s Macio Teague was out). So these teams are trending in totally opposite directions. A week ago this would have been a really easy game to pick. Now... not so much. Still, I think WVU has more talent if they can get them to play less timid. Plus, they’re at home.

59-53 West Virginia

#1 Baylor @ Oklahoma

Tuesday, February 18th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN2

#1 Baylor (23-1, 12-0) is flying high after rediscovering their offense and performing a demo day against WVU. They must once again hit the road as they travel to Oklahoma (16-9, 6-6). Oklahoma suffered a tough, 17 point loss against Kansas. The Sooners were shooting the ball early but just couldn’t keep up with Kansas’s offensive output the whole game. Baylor needs to be careful in this game. The last time the Bears and Sooners met, Baylor only won by 4 points at home. Still, Baylor only scored 61 points in that game. If the Bears can keep up some of their refreshed offensive furor they should be just fine. That will mean Jared Butler needs to keep hitting his open threes, Matthew Mayer keeps putting in really, really nice minutes off the bench, Tristan Clark keeps progressing, and hopefully Macio Teague is back in action after a wrist injury. I think the Bears keep at least one or two of those story lines trending positively and notch another key road victory. Oh also, not for nothing, if Baylor can win this game they will be the sole holder of the record for the longest Big 12 winning streak.

66-59 Baylor

TCU @ Texas

Wednesday, February 19th 7:00 PM CT, LHN

Texas (14-11, 4-8) just suffered a legitimate season-ending loss to Iowa State that, I’ve got to imagine, might spell the end of Shaka Smart’s career at Texas. They lost by almost thirty points to a team that is missing its only legitimately great player. Not a good look. TCU (14-11, 5-7) got a much needed win over Kansas State this weekend. They are still in must-win mode for the foreseeable future, which will be tricky because three of their last six games are against Baylor, Kansas, and West Virginia. That makes this game, even more so, an absolute necessity. Texas is favored in this game according to ESPN but I really don’t buy that. Texas just looks absolutely defeated, TCU is still fighting.

65-56 TCU

Kansas State @ Texas Tech

Wednesday, February 19th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN2

Kansas State (9-16, 2-10) is done-done for this season. They suffered yet another loss to TCU over the weekend. Now they travel to Texas Tech (16-9, 7-5) who just lost to a team that I thought was done-done... Oklahoma State (granted, unless there is a winning streak unheard of in college basketball, the Cowboys are still basically done). While Tech looked bad in that game in Stillwater, I’m still convinced part of that is Oklahoma State rapidly improving in conference play (I REALLY don’t want Baylor to play them in the Big 12 tournament). Tech should be able to bounce back at home and get the win over Kansas State.

68-56 Texas Tech

Overall Prediction Record

52-18 (74.3%)