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Big 12 MBB Preview 2/8

Another weekend slate of Big 12 basketball!

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

#3 Kansas @ TCU

Saturday, February 8th 11:00 AM CT, ESPN2

#3 Kansas (19-3, 8-1) is still chugging along in their quest to catch up to Baylor’s first place positioning. They continued that during the week with a strong win over Texas. TCU (13-9, 4-5) suffered a major setback, getting blown out on the road to Oklahoma State, who did not yet have a conference win. TCU has been regressing noticeably throughout conference play, having difficulty treading at or above .500 in conference. They’ll likely sink to two games below even in the Big 12 after this game.

74-58 Kansas

#13 West Virginia @ Oklahoma

Saturday, February 8th 1:00 PM CT, ESPNU

#13 West Virginia (18-4, 6-3) took care of business during the week against Iowa State. They now travel to Oklahoma (14-8, 4-5). OU is in a precarious spot, similar to TCU. However, I think the Sooners have a much better chance in this game than the Horned Frogs do in their own. For one, Oklahoma has a less one dimensional offense, which can lean on either Brady Manek or Kristian Doolittle. Second, West Virginia has pretty regularly lost a Big 12 game after every 2-3 conference wins. This game is right at that two game slot. I’ll give Oklahoma an extremely narrow, home win.

65-64 Oklahoma

Texas Tech @ Texas

Saturday, February 8th 3:00 PM CT, ESPN2

Texas Tech (14-8, 5-4) nabbed a strong win over Oklahoma during the week. In order to stay above .500 in conference, they need to pick up a road win against Texas (14-8, 4-5). The Longhorns need this win to get back to even (as a side note, I focus so heavily on being .500 or above in conference because that has been somewhat of a predictor of NCAA tournament bids from the conference in the past and a lot of teams are dancing right around it). Texas suffered a predictable defeat to Kansas during the week. This game is a little hard to predict because these are probably the two most inconsistent teams in the conference. If Tech has a bad game or Texas has a particularly good game, it could easily go to the Longhorns and vice-versa. Still, the Red Raiders have an edge in raw talent and coaching with Chris Beard. I’ll take the Red Raiders on the road as they try not to slip into the tournament danger zone.

63-59 Texas Tech

Oklahoma State @ #1 Baylor

Saturday, February 8th 5:00 PM CT, ESPN2

#1 Baylor (20-1, 9-0) hosts Oklahoma State (11-11, 1-8) in a rematch of one of the Bears’ toughest conference games to date. As you’ll recall, Baylor trailed by double digits in Stillwater before rallying back and winning. Oklahoma State had one of its best shooting performances of its entire season that game. I don’t expect that same difficulty, especially with the game being in Waco. Baylor is also looking stronger and deeper as Tristan Clark gets healthier, Jared Butler is coming out of his funk, and the rest of the team is excelling. Late game sluggishness aside, Baylor got a key road win over Kansas State during the week, where the Bears mostly kept the game under control. Oklahoma State picked up its first conference win of the season, which might actually be a psychological benefit to Baylor: the Cowboys won’t be as desperate to get that weight off their shoulders of no conference Ws. Baylor should be fine at home and go into yet another week as the best team in the country.

75-59 Baylor

Kansas State @ Iowa State

Saturday, February 8th 7:00 PM CT, ESPN2

Kansas State (9-13, 2-7) showed some fight in their matchup with Baylor during the week. They now face Iowa State (9-13, 2-7) who is on a downward trend after losing handily to West Virginia. While this is somewhat of a rivalry game and it is at home, I’m not sure there will be enough Hilton Magic for Iowa State in this one. Kansas State, while also having a disappointing season, just looks like they have more fight and more weapons than the Cyclones at this point. Iowa State leans far too heavily on Tyrese Haliburton, while Kansas State was getting production against one of the best defenses in the country with Xavier Sneed, Cartier Diarra, Makol Mawien, and Montavious Murphy. KState by a few.

68-65 Kansas State

Overall Prediction Record

In the comments of my last post, it was requested that I keep track of my running prediction total so you all know how much or little stock you want to put in them. After checking the results, here is my current prediction record (since the start of conference play and including the Big 12/SEC Showdown, I didn’t have previews in the basketball non-conference):

42-13 (76.4%)