West Virginia @ #18 Texas Tech
Saturday, January 22nd 11:00 AM CT, ESPN2
#18 Texas Tech (14-4, 4-2) bounced back nicely from their weekend loss to Kansas State with a commanding victory over Iowa State. They now host West Virginia (13-4, 2-3) who is looking to get back on track after a missed opportunity against Baylor. The Mountaineers went down big to Baylor early, but made some adjustments that largely kept Baylor out of the paint going forward. Still, WVU couldn’t get enough consistent offensive play to pull out the victory. That’s going to be tough against Texas Tech who is an exceptional defensive team. They have held their conference foes to an average of 59.8 ppg. I like the Red Raiders in this one at home.
72-58 Texas Tech
Oklahoma State @ #23 Texas
Saturday, January 22nd 1:00 PM CT, ESPN2
In a shocking development, #23 Texas (13-5, 3-3) has turned out to be well overhyped. The proof is their 66-65 home loss to Kansas State, one of the lower tier teams in the league this season. They are almost certainly on their way out of the top 25 and now face one of the other seemingly weaker teams in the conference, Oklahoma State (10-7, 3-3) (although, to be fair, every team in this conference is at minimum solid, there is truly not a “bad” team). The Cowboys are on a very nice, two game winning streak with wins over Baylor and TCU. Even though this is in Austin, I really like the Cowboys here. They have been playing with far more grit and energy than Texas. I’ll be curious to see if Chris Beard can find a way to turn things around this season.
76-67 Oklahoma State
#5 Baylor @ Oklahoma
Saturday, January 22nd 2:00 PM CT, ESPN+
#5 Baylor (16-2, 4-2) picked up a massively needed win in Morgantown while missing James Akinjo and Jeremy Sochan. Both of those injuries have really hurt the Bears, with Akinjo playing a critical role offensively both as a scorer and distributor and Sochan being integral to Baylor’s defensive pressure. As of the writing of this article, both are still day-to-day so it is unclear if they will be available for this game. Without them, Baylor’s offense is much streakier and reliant on players like Adam Flagler to handle the ball more than they are used to. Still, Matthew Mayer and LJ Cryer certainly heated up from 3 at the right time, helping carry the Bears to their last victory. Oklahoma (12-6, 2-4) is on a three game losing streak, with close losses to TCU and Kansas as their most recent forays. A win here would certainly boost the Sooners, but they already lost to Baylor by 10 points. Granted, that was in Waco and with a healthy Bears roster. Still, I think the West Virginia game helped Baylor figure out what schemes and packages work when they are short handed. And if either player is ready to go for this game, even more reason to pick the Bears.
#7 Kansas @ Kansas State
Saturday, January 22nd 3:00 PM CT, ESPN+
#7 Kansas (15-2, 4-1) has been in a number of close calls, winning two of their last three by one possession. They now travel to rival Kansas State (10-7, 2-4) who has bounced back from a four game losing streak with two top 25 wins in a row. They’ll look to make it three in a row against the Jayhawks. Realistically, Kansas should be able to win this game just fine. The question marks are if David McCormack can provide more than the 6 points he offered in the Oklahoma game and if leading scorer Ochai Agbaji will be good to go, since he left the Oklahoma game with an injury (x-rays were negative so he shouldn’t be out long, if he even misses this game). I’ll pick Kansas here, but rivalry games can of course go either way, so a Kansas State victory wouldn’t shock me.
TCU @ #15 Iowa State
Saturday, January 22nd 3:00 PM CT, ESPN2
#15 Iowa State (14-4, 2-4) and TCU (12-3, 2-2) are both looking for bounce back wins after disappointing losses during the week. Iowa State got dominated by Texas Tech in Lubbock, a game they were hopping to make more competitive than it was. TCU lost by 1 point on the road to Oklahoma State. I think Iowa State will prove to be a streaky team in conference play given their offensive ups and downs. TCU is a team that they can probably score on a bit more easily than much of the rest of their competition. That plus this game being at home and I like a Cyclone victory here. The key to that victory will be Iowa State’s good defense keeping TCU’s Mike Miles in check, much like Oklahoma State was able to do.
66-62 Iowa State