West Virginia @ #8 Baylor
Monday, January 31st 8:00 PM CT, ESPN
#8 Baylor (18-3, 6-2) suffered a tough loss in the Big 12-SEC Challenge over the weekend, losing on the road at Alabama. While that loss stings, all things considered it’s not a terrible loss: Baylor was down its leading scorer, LJ Cryer, and it doesn’t impact the Big 12 title race. So the sooner the Bears can get that bad taste out of their mouth the better. They have a big opportunity to do that as they host a struggling West Virginia (13-7, 2-5). The Mountaineers are on a 5 game slide, including their loss at Arkansas. The Bears needs to come out like they did against Kansas State and put West Virginia away early and with authority. A big question will be if Cryer can play in this one, but I think Baylor can win this game at home regardless. They won shorthanded on the road by nine the last time these two teams faced-off.
TCU @ Oklahoma
Monday, January 31st 8:00 PM CT, ESPN2
Oklahoma (13-8, 3-5) put up a bit of a fight over the weekend against #1 Auburn but they ultimately faded away and lost by nearly 20 points. That makes five losses in the Sooners’ last six games. While has been disappointing as of late, TCU (14-4, 3-3) certainly has not. They notched a big upset win over top 25 LSU over the weekend and have won four of their last six. The Horned Frogs are also road tested, winning two of their three away games in conference so far. I like TCU to pounce on a struggling Oklahoma squad, especially if Mike Miles is scoring in the upper teens/twenties like he has been.
#10 Kansas @ #20 Iowa State
Tuesday, February 1st 6:00 PM CT, ESPN
#10 Kansas (17-3, 6-1) got absolutely embarrassed on their homecourt over the weekend by Kentucky. That game was never in question basically from the opening tip. I can’t imagine this scoreboard issue right before the game was a good omen:
They’ll now have to try to bounce back in a big way as they travel to Ames to take on #20 Iowa State (16-5, 3-5). The Cyclones took care of business against Missouri over the weekend, establishing a two game winning streak going into this game. There’s two questions I have going into this game: Will Kansas come out angry or dejected? And can teams like Iowa State realistically hold Ochai Agbaji to around 13 points like Kentucky was able to? To be determined on the first question, and I think Iowa State is a team that could accomplish the second task. The Cyclones fell only a point short of Kansas in Lawrence in their first meeting, and they let Agbaji score 22. A few less points by Agbaji and a raucous homecourt environment and I’ve got Iowa State winning this one.
76-73 Iowa State
#23 Texas @ #14 Texas Tech
Tuesday, February 1st 8:00 PM CT, ESPN2
#23 Texas (16-5, 5-3) secured a close, much needed win against Tennessee over the weekend. That combined with their now three game winning streak has brought them back into the top 25. They now travel to #14 Texas Tech (16-5, 5-3) who got a nice blowout win over Mississippi State. Their 26 point victory was a great bounce back from their disappointing, double overtime loss to Kansas. While Texas is showing some signs of life after dropping off in the middle of the season, I still think Tech is the all-around better team and there is going to be some NASTY homecourt energy in this one, given Texas’s coach Chris Beard left the Red Raiders to coach the Longhorns. Absolutely give me Texas Tech here.
72-61 Texas Tech
Oklahoma State @ Kansas State
Wednesday, February 2nd 8:00 PM CT, ESPNU
Oklahoma State (10-10, 3-5) is now on a three game slide, with losses to Texas, Iowa State, and Florida. None of those are bad losses but they need to find a way to get out of the losing funk. Kansas State (10-10, 2-6) is similarly on a three game losing skid, with their losses coming to Kansas, Baylor, and Ole Miss. The first two of those are not bad but the Ole Miss loss is pretty damaging for a team that is fighting to get into the tournament. Kansas State has to win this game to regain momentum and stay above .500 overall. Homecourt should help, but I’ve been more impressed with the Cowboys so far this season.
63-58 Oklahoma State