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Big 12 MBB Preview: 3/1-3/5

A loaded slate of Big 12 games as conference play enters its final week!

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

#16 Oklahoma @ #17 Oklahoma State

Monday, March 1st 8:00 PM CT, ESPN

The second part of back-to-back Bedlam games happens tonight, as #16 Oklahoma (14-7, 9-6) travels to Stillwater after having just lost to #17 Oklahoma State (16-6, 9-6) on Saturday in Norman. The last meeting between these two teams was a high-powered offensive shootout, which saw Oklahoma State’s lottery pick star, Cade Cunningham, put up 40 points on the Sooners. Oklahoma will certainly have to make quick adjustments to ensure he doesn’t do that to them again. However, given this one is now at home for the Cowboys and there’s so little time to implement a new game plan, I like Oklahoma State to sweep and win this game.

91-83 Oklahoma State

#3 Baylor @ #6 West Virginia

Tuesday, March 2nd 4:00 PM CT, ESPN

#3 Baylor (18-1, 10-1) suffered a disappointing end to their perfect season on Saturday in Lawrence. However, the Bears absolutely need to bounce back and win this game to secure a Big 12 regular season championship for the first time ever. #6 West Virginia (17-6, 10-4) is the only team that has a chance of playing spoiler for the Bears. Beating them here would simultaneously secure the title for Baylor and ensure it isn’t a tie. It’s hard to say what Baylor will look like in this matchup: how many games will it take for them to recover their midseason form from before the COVID break? Will they ever? I think a big key to this one will be if Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua starts looking more like himself. Flo Thamba has done a good job stepping up, but “Everyday Jon” was clearly not in peak form in the Kansas game. Hopefully a few more days gets him closer to fully back. West Virginia beat Kansas State by 22 over the weekend. I’ll still take Baylor in this one, since I do think they’ll find their mojo again sooner or later.

70-67 Baylor

#15 Texas @ Iowa State

Tuesday, March 2nd 6:00 PM CT, ESPN+

Iowa State (2-18, 0-15) is still on the hunt for a Big 12 conference win after squandering a good opportunity against TCU over the weekend. They now host #15 Texas (14-7, 8-6) who is once again trying to find their groove as they lost their weekend game to Texas Tech and have lost two of their last three. Iowa State lost their previous game against Texas by 6 points. I do still think Iowa State is going to win one of their games in this last week. That will probably be their Kansas State game on Saturday, but it could be this one if Texas is caught sleeping. Still, on paper Texas should win this game.

75-66 Texas

#18 Texas Tech vs. TCU

Tuesday, March 2nd 6:00 PM CT, ESPN+

#18 Texas Tech (15-8, 7-7) scored a much needed win against Texas over the weekend. They now host TCU (12-10, 5-8) who secured a victory over Iowa State. This is a game Texas Tech should absolutely win, but given their recent inconsistencies that is a little less certain than it should be. Both teams had been on three game losing streaks before winning their game over the weekend, so momentum is about equal on both sides. Tech is certainly the better overall team and this is a home game, so I expect the Red Raiders to win by just over double digits.

78-67 Texas Tech

#3 Baylor vs. #17 Oklahoma State

Thursday, March 4th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN2

#3 Baylor (18-1, 10-1) returns home for their second weekday game as they host #17 Oklahoma State (16-6, 9-6). Again, it’s hard to predict these second games of the week when we don’t know the results of the first game. However, this could turn out to be a critical game for the Bears: If they can’t defeat West Virginia on Tuesday, this and their final game against Texas Tech will be their last two opportunities to lock up the Big 12 regular season title. If the Bears were to lose to both West Virginia and Oklahoma State, one might start to worry that a late season collapse is coming after the COVID pause. However, there is no need to panic like that after only one loss. Baylor did have some issues with Oklahoma State in Stillwater, even when they didn’t have Cade Cunningham. However, I think the Cowboys having Cade Cunningham might, in an odd way, help the Bears. Baylor has some of the best lockdown defenders in the country and having a player that will be a for sure defensive target might give some focus on that side of the ball. Plus, for a player like Davion Mitchell who will likely be guarding Cunningham and who is trying to sell his NBA potential largely on defensive prowess, this is a game that could pay huge draft dividends. So I imagine he and the rest of the defense will be quite energized to prove themselves here. Baylor gets this one at home.

81-75 Baylor

#6 West Virginia vs. TCU

Thursday, March 4th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN+

This could be an important game for Baylor fans to keep an eye on. Baylor secures a share of the Big 12 regular season title with any win in their last three games. They could also secure that title if West Virginia losses. So while Baylor fans will rightfully be focused on the Oklahoma State game, if they are still looking to secure the championship this might be a score to be checking on your phone. However, West Virginia should be able to beat TCU at home just fine. They beat the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth by eight points in their first meeting.

76-65 West Virginia

Iowa State @ #18 Texas Tech

Thursday, March 4th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN+

Similar narrative to the Iowa State game above, the Cyclones are looking for a conference win and they have another chance in Lubbock. Texas Tech will be looking to build some momentum as they have two very winnable games against Iowa State and TCU this week. Especially in Lubbock, the Red Raiders should be able to handle the Cyclones just fine. Tech beat Iowa State by almost 30 points in Ames in their prior meeting.

83-68 Texas Tech

#13 Kansas vs. UTEP

Thursday, March 4th 7:00 PM CT, ESPN+

So this is an odd matchup this week. #13 Kansas (18-8) has completed the required number of games for Big 12 play. So rather than sit around and take a week off, the Jayhawks scheduled a game against UTEP (11-10). UTEP has been incredibly average this year, with their one win of note coming over Arizona State. Kansas should be able to win this game with ease given how they’ve looked as of late, especially at home.

71-50 Kansas

#15 Texas @ #16 Oklahoma

Thursday, March 4th 8:00 PM CT, TBD

A Red River Rivalry game is always an interesting one to watch, but that’s especially true when both teams are in the top 25 and so tight in terms of skill level. #15 Texas (14-7, 8-6) will be looking to potentially jump #16 Oklahoma (14-7, 9-6) in the Big 12 standings with a win here. Oklahoma should be fighting to remain in the top half of the conference standings. Texas lost by one point at home to Oklahoma. Can they avoid the sweep in Norman? I think so. Both Oklahoma and Texas have lost two of their last three games entering this week, but Texas has looked slightly better with an impressive win over Kansas.

74-72 Texas