Oklahoma State @ Oklahoma
Saturday, February 26th 11:00 AM CT, CBS
It was a tough week for the two Oklahoma schools. Oklahoma State (13-14, 6-9) lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Baylor. It looked like the Cowboys might have hit the game winner in regulation, but after review the shot was very clearly after a shot clock violation. For Oklahoma (14-14, 4-11), the Sooners continued an awful stretch of losses with a dismal loss to Texas Tech. Oklahoma only mustered 42 points against the Red Raiders and have now only won three games in their last fifteen. A tournament resume, that does not make. Oklahoma lost their last game against the Cowboys by nine in Stillwater. And while you might think the homecourt advantage would help out the Sooners here, their attendance has been terrible. Their game against heated rival Texas looked like a weekday Baylor nonconference game in terms of attendance. So I like the Cowboys here, they have looked much more feisty even in their losses.
65-56 Oklahoma State
#20 Texas @ West Virginia
Saturday, February 26th 1:00 PM CT, ESPN2
West Virginia (14-14, 3-12) suffered another disappointing loss to the Cyclones during the week, a game they led for large portions. That means the Mountaineers have had only one win since midway through January, losing twelve of their last thirteen. They now host #20 Texas (20-8, 9-6) who secured a win over an unrested TCU. Similar to TCU, West Virginia had to pack an extra game into their schedule this week, making this their third contest of the week. This game ought to be easier than the TCU one, as the Mountaineers have obviously been struggling significantly. Texas beat West Virginia in their first game by 16 points. I expect a similar margin in this one, even if it is on the road.
Saturday, February 26th 1:00 PM CT, ESPNU
Iowa State (19-9, 6-9) got another really nice win against West Virginia during the week. That marks a three game winning streak which has moved the Cyclones more firmly into the tournament picture. If they can finish out with a win here and/or a win at Oklahoma State I would think they’re pretty close to locked in. Kansas State (14-13, 6-9) is looking far more precarious, as they enter this game on a two game losing streak. Their recent loss to Kansas was a defensive nightmare, where they let up over 100 points. Luckily for the Wildcats, the Cyclones are much less effective on offense than the Jayhawks. Still, I like the Cyclones to win here. Even though Kansas State beat Iowa State in the first game, I think Iowa State is an overall better team and this is a very splitable series.
58-53 Iowa State
#9 Texas Tech @ TCU
Saturday, February 26th 5:00 PM CT, ESPN2
#9 Texas Tech (22-6, 11-4) is sitting tied at second in the conference with Baylor. With three very winnable games remaining for the Red Raiders, each of these are essentially must-wins for Tech and any conference championship aspirations they have. TCU (17-9, 6-8) has been on a pretty significant downturn, losing four of their last five games down the stretch when it really counts for tournament considerations. It doesn’t help that this is TCU’s third game of the week, so they will be more gassed than the Red Raiders. Even though the Horned Frogs have a homecourt advantage, I like Tech here. That’s especially true given the Red Raiders won their first meeting by 13 points.
81-72 Texas Tech
#5 Kansas @ #10 Baylor
Saturday, February 26th 7:00 PM CT, ESPN
The headline event of the weekend features #5 Kansas (23-4, 12-2) traveling to Waco to take on #10 Baylor (23-5, 11-4). Baylor sits one and a half games behind Kansas currently, so a win here wouldn’t quite propel the Bears back to the top of the conference standings. But a loss would very likely knock Baylor out of the race for the Big 12, with Texas Tech currently tied with Baylor in the standings. Baylor got throttled in Lawrence in these team’s first meeting, losing by 24 points. One of the biggest reasons that game was so lopsided was Baylor’s James Akinjo going 0-11 from the field and scoring zero points. As we know, Akinjo has been a great addition for the Bears, but he does go cold from time to time. The Bears’ last win against Oklahoma State was a bit of an example of this, where Akinjo didn’t hit a shot in regulation (but then hit two in overtime, including the game winner). If the Bears want a chance in this one, they’ll need Akinjo at the top of his game (and Adam Flagler staying red hot wouldn’t hurt either). Kansas dominated Kansas State in their last game, scoring 102 points. The Baylor defense will also need to show up in force to have a shot here. Sadly, given the still shorthanded nature of the Bears, I’m not sure they get it done here. Still, a rocking Ferrell Center would certainly improve the odds.