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Big 12 Basketball Preview: 1/9

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

#4 Texas @ #14 West Virginia

Saturday, January 9th 12:00 PM CT, ESPN

Probably the biggest matchup of the day in the Big 12 comes first as #4 Texas (9-1, 3-0) takes on #14 West Virginia (9-3, 2-2). The Longhorns are off to a red hot start to their season, bolstering a near perfect record with their only loss coming to Villanova. They have a win over North Carolina and a blowout victory in Lawrence over Kansas. West Virginia, on the other hand, might need to dampen their expectations just a smidge. While they hung tight with Gonzaga and have a couple of quality wins, they are 2-2 in Big 12 play with a blowout loss to Kansas and a close loss to Oklahoma. Their wins were by a combined 8 points against Iowa State and Oklahoma State, two of the lower ranking teams in the conference this season. ESPN’s BPI index actually likes WVU to win this game, but I think Texas gets it by just under 10 points.

78-70 Texas

#2 Baylor @ TCU

Saturday, January 9th 2:00 PM CT, ESPN

We all know #2 Baylor (10-0, 3-0) is a force to be reckoned with. Their undefeated start to the season has not seen a single game decided by single digits so far. However, their schedule will only get more difficult as they dive into Big 12 play. But... I don’t think TCU (9-3, 2-2) marks that step up in competition, quite yet. The Horned Frogs have mostly been getting by with single digit wins against what should be much lesser competition and got blown out by Kansas in their last game. Unless Baylor has a very off shooting performance like against Iowa State (which I suspect will be an extreme outlier on the season), they should handle TCU just fine. Cleaning up some sloppy turnovers that we saw in the OU game wouldn’t hurt either.

96-65 Baylor

#18 Texas Tech @ Iowa State

Saturday, January 9th 3:00 PM CT, ESPN2

#18 Texas Tech (9-3, 2-2) has had a disappointing start to conference play, losing a one point game to Kansas and then a five point game to Oklahoma State. The Red Raiders recovered in their last matchup with a double digit win over Kansas State. Iowa State (2-6, 0-4) is just not very good this year, but they are hanging with some of the upper talents in the Big 12. The Cyclones kept it close against Texas, losing by 6 points, and were close for most of their game against Baylor. So Iowa State is a team that will have a terrible record when the season ends but will probably end up doing pretty well against the spread. I think that’s what happens here, Tech wins a close one.

76-73 Texas Tech

#6 Kansas vs. Oklahoma

Saturday, January 9th 3:30 PM CT, CBS

Getting blown out by Texas might have been the kick in the rear #6 Kansas (9-2, 3-1) needed, as the Jayhawks bounced back and beat TCU by just under 30 points in their latest game. The question now is whether that Texas game will end up being an aberration for the Jayhawks, or if this team is just going to be flat-out inconsistent throughout the season. Their matchup with Oklahoma (6-3, 2-2) should provide some insights on that question. Oklahoma has lost to Texas Tech and most recently Baylor, but has a nice win over West Virginia, alongside a slew of less impressive wins. I think Kansas wins this one, but the margin might be as telling as the outcome.

79-67 Kansas

Oklahoma State @ Kansas State

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

It’s pretty clear that Iowa State will be the bottom team in the Big 12 this season. This matchup between Oklahoma State (7-3, 1-3) and Kansas State (5-7, 1-3) might very well determine who will fill the #9 spot in the conference. Kansas State has looked pretty atrocious so far this season, losing to teams like Drake and Fort Hays State (raise your hand if you knew that was a school) by double digits. They are also on a three game losing streak in conference, losing to Baylor, TCU, and Texas Tech. Oklahoma State, while maybe not world beaters, does not have the same inexcusable losses on their resume. They also have a win over Texas Tech alongside three single digit conference losses (their three losses came by a combined 7 points). So while these teams have the same conference records, Oklahoma State certainly looks more impressive and should get the win here.

78-65 Oklahoma State