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Big 12 MBB Preview: 1/8

Every Big 12 team should be in action this Saturday, headlined by a key top 25 matchup!

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament-Kansas State vs TCU Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

#14 Texas @ Oklahoma State

Saturday, January 8th 1:00 PM CT, CBS

#14 Texas (11-2, 2-0) once again took care of business in conference play, beating Kansas State by 13 on the road. Granted, Kansas State was short-handed, which has been the case in both of Texas’s conference games so far. The Longhorns now once again hit the road for what should likely be another win against Oklahoma State (7-5, 0-1). The Cowboys gave Kansas a good game in their last one but ultimately fell short. While the Cowboys are clearly the bottom of the Big 12 right now, they have the talent to sneak up on some teams. While Texas will be favored here, I wouldn’t be surprised if this game is closer than some might expect. Still, Texas should win.

72-67 Texas

Kansas State @ West Virginia

Saturday, January 8th 1:00 PM CT, ESPN+

Kansas State (8-5, 0-2) fought valiantly against Texas with only seven scholarship players, but it wasn’t enough to get the win as roster fatigue set in. They now face West Virginia (11-2, 0-1) who was also depleted in their game against Texas. In that sense, this game is difficult to predict because a lot of it depends on which and how many players are available for each team. Nevertheless, West Virginia has a higher base than Kansas State and is the home team, so I expect a West Virginia win here in what could very well be an ugly, defensive battle.

66-61 West Virginia

#6 Kansas @ #25 Texas Tech

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

#6 Kansas (12-1, 1-0) picked up its first conference win on the road at Oklahoma State. While road conference wins should always be cherished, Kansas looked quite mortal, going incredibly cold offensively for a large portion of the game. #25 Texas Tech (10-3, 0-1) showed a TON of fight in their last game as they took Iowa State to the final minutes in Hilton while only having seven roster players. Whether or not the Red Raiders will have their top two scorers available will be a big key for this game, as Terrence Shannon Jr. and Kevin McCullar were out in their last game. With that uncertainty, I’ll take the Jayhawks in this one. Given Kansas’s offensive inconsistency, this might look surprisingly similar to the Tech/Iowa State game.

61-56 Kansas

#1 Baylor @ TCU

Saturday, January 8th 4:00 PM CT, ESPN+

#1 Baylor (14-0, 2-0) won another too-close-for-comfort game against Oklahoma earlier in the week (when in reality, the game was never seriously in question). They now hit the road to face rival TCU (10-1, 0-0). The Horned Frogs have been on an extended break with their last two games cancelled/postponed. TCU has put together a good record so far on the season, but they have yet to face any stiff competition. Given that and their extended pause, I suspect Baylor should be more finely tuned and conditioned. Baylor has made a name for itself in out-hustling teams, so I think those extraneous factors will come into play here. The Horned Frogs only have two players that average double digits, led by Mike Miles at 16.9 ppg. So the defensive game plan shouldn’t be too difficult either. Bears in a game that is less close than the last two, especially if James Akinjo keeps up his impressive conference play run.

78-60 Baylor

#11 Iowa State @ Oklahoma

Saturday, January 8th 5:00 PM CT, ESPNU

A win is a win, but #11 Iowa State (13-1, 1-1) left A LOT to be desired at home against a severely short-handed Texas Tech. The Cyclones will have to find improved offensive consistency if they want to post a good conference record this year. Oklahoma (11-3, 1-1) was a near polar opposite in their game against Baylor, where they were shooting the lights out but turned the ball over too much and couldn’t get consistent enough defensive stops to beat the Bears. So the question for this game is which will move first, the unstoppable force or the immovable object? In other words, will the Iowa State defense stymy the Sooners or will the Oklahoma offense overwhelm the Cyclones? Given Baylor has just as strong of a defense and Oklahoma scored on them quite a bit, I suspect the Sooners will notch a key win at home in this one.

73-65 Oklahoma