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Big 12 MBB Preview: 2/21-2/23

A full week of Big 12 games, including an extra sixth matchup!

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma State at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia @ TCU

Monday, February 21st 7:00 PM CT, ESPN+

This game is the start of a grueling week for both West Virginia (14-12, 3-10) and TCU (16-8, 5-7), as both teams have to play three games this week to make up for an earlier cancellation. The Mountaineers have been on an absolutely horrid streak as of late, losing ten of their last eleven games. Their only win in that stretch was against Iowa State. Meanwhile, TCU has been overall much more steady, although they are currently on a three game losing streak. Further, the Horned Frogs will have to deal with a potential injury to Eddie Lampkin who was helped off the court to the locker room in their last loss to Baylor. The good news is that Lampkin came back into the game later. The bad news is he still looked hobbled and came out shortly after. So we’ll see how much that injury lingers. Nevertheless, while both teams desperately need this win, I think TCU is better poised to pick up a home victory.

63-59 TCU

#10 Baylor @ Oklahoma State

Monday, February 21st 8:00 PM CT, ESPN

A very shorthanded Baylor (22-5, 10-4) picked up a really nice win on Saturday against TCU to keep them in the hunt for the Big 12 regular season title. The #10 Bears were without three heavy contributors and were still able to more or less blow out the Horned Frogs. They now turn their attention to a road contest against Oklahoma State (13-13, 6-8). The Cowboys beat the Bears in Waco in their last meeting, but Oklahoma State has had its fair share of struggles since then, losing six of their last nine. The good news for the Cowboys is that they have won two of their last three, with a blowout win over West Virginia and a tight, overtime victory over Kansas State in their last game. Baylor needs to keep up its strong play even with a severely depleted roster if they want to remain a contender for the Big 12 title. Thankfully, the players that are available showed a lot of growth against TCU. We’ll see if that remains consistent and translates to a game on the road. Still, where I think Baylor will struggle the most is with teams that can challenge them on the interior given the lack of depth there. Oklahoma State is probably not that team, although their guards have been able to get points in the paint against teams like West Virginia. However, Baylor’s defense is far stronger than WVU’s and I just can’t see Baylor getting swept by a 13-13 team. Baylor gets another win here.

71-58 Baylor

Oklahoma @ #9 Texas Tech

Tuesday, February 22nd 7:00 PM CT, ESPN+

Oklahoma (14-13, 4-10) has been struggling nearly as badly as West Virginia, losing ten of their last twelve games. Their last win was inexplicably against Texas Tech (21-6, 10-4), but other than that the Sooners have been on a really bad losing streak. Which is especially tough, considering two of their last three losses were by two points each. They now rematch #9 Tech, this time in Lubbock. The Red Raiders are in the thick of the Big 12 conference race, winning three games in a row. There isn’t much room for error, however, as they remain tied with Baylor one and a half games behind Kansas. Still, Tech has consistently had raucous home crowds this season (and even road crowds in their recent win against Texas). This is another game where I just can’t envision Oklahoma sweeping Texas Tech, especially considering how unclutch the Sooners have been. Tech by almost double digits.

69-60 Texas Tech

Kansas State @ #5 Kansas

Tuesday, February 22nd 8:00 PM CT, ESPN

#5 Kansas (22-4, 11-2) holds sole possession of first place in the Big 12 as things currently stand. They’ll want to complete the sweep of their rival, Kansas State (14-12, 6-8) to maintain that one and a half game lead. The Wildcats had a bit of a rough stretch in the middle of conference play but have looked better as of late, winning four of their last six. However, they dropped a very disappointing, overtime game at Oklahoma State in their last matchup. They’ll need to bounce back quickly to have a chance in Lawrence in this one. The Wildcats were very close to beating Kansas in their first meeting, but fell apart down the stretch. They’ll certainly be motivated to redeem themselves, but I don’t see it happening. Jayhawks win.

78-72 Kansas

TCU @ #20 Texas

Wednesday, February 22nd 6:00 PM CT, ESPN2

TCU plays its second game of the week against instate rival, #20 Texas (19-8, 8-6). How the Horned Frogs will come out in this game will probably depend somewhat on the outcome of their first game, but either way they will be less rested than the Longhorns. Texas has overall been on a decent streak, winning three of their last five. Their two losses were at Baylor and against Tech in their last game in what felt like a neutral site game (even though it was in Austin). Texas beat TCU in their last meeting in Fort Worth by a 23 point margin. With an injury to TCU’s emerging big man and an extra game for the Horned Frogs, I expect another Texas victory here.

65-58 Texas

West Virginia @ Iowa State

Wednesday, February 22md 6:00 PM CT, ESPNU

Similar to TCU, this will be the second of three games for West Virginia this week. They square off in Ames with Iowa State (18-9, 5-9) who secured two desperately needed wins last week against TCU and Oklahoma. They’ll look to extend that winning streak in another very winnable game against the Mountaineers. While this game will once again potentially depend on how WVU looks in their game against TCU, I like Iowa State either way for a few reasons. The rest differential is again at play here, but Iowa State has also just looked substantially better than the Mountaineers over the past couple of games. And this game is at home for the Cyclones. However, the potential issue with that prediction is that WVU beat Iowa State four games ago. Still, those conditions were much different and that game was in Morgantown. I’ll take the hot Cyclones over the very cold, and probably tired Mountaineers.

65-57 Iowa State