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Big 12 MBB Preview: 2/5

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Another packed Saturday of Big 12 hoops, headlined by the top 10 matchup between Baylor and Kansas!

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament-TCU vs Oklahoma State William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State

Saturday, February 5th 11:00 AM CT, ESPN2

Oklahoma (13-9, 3-6) continued its heavy slide in conference play during the week, losing to TCU. That defeat means the Sooners have lost six of their last seven games. Oklahoma State (10-11, 3-6) has been on a slide of their own, losing their last four games including a heartbreaker to Kansas State. This is probably one of the least hyped Bedlam games I can think of in recent memory, as both teams have been struggling. Still, Oklahoma really needs to win this one to feel good about their tournament odds. Oklahoma State is ineligible so it’s all about pride on their end. I actually like the Cowboys in this one, even with their losing streak they have shown more fight than the Sooners have as of late.

68-65 Oklahoma State

#14 Texas Tech @ West Virginia

Saturday, February 5th 1:00 PM CT, ESPN

#14 Texas Tech (17-5, 6-3) picked up a huge, emotional win over Texas and former coach Chris Beard. They now need to put that game behind them as they travel to a severely struggling West Virginia (13-8, 2-6). The Mountaineers are on six game losing streak after they squandered an opportunity against Baylor during the week. If the Red Raiders play anything close to like they did against Texas, this should be an easy win for them. The biggest problem will be that the game is in Morgantown, but even that I don’t think will stop Tech from securing another win.

81-68 Texas Tech

#20 Iowa State @ #23 Texas

Saturday, February 5th 1:00 PM CT, LHN

Both #20 Iowa State (16-6, 3-6) and #23 Texas (16-6, 5-4) are coming off of disappointing losses during the week. Iowa State could never get much traction going against Kansas at home, a game many thought the Cyclones could win given their close loss in Lawrence and Kansas being without Ochai Agbaji. But that was not the case. Texas similarly failed to hang around much in a huge game environment against Texas Tech. This will likely be a defensive slugfest, as both teams are much more comfortable playing tough defense than scoring in bunches. Iowa State won the last meeting against Texas, 79-70. I think these teams are at about the same skill level, so a split wouldn’t surprise me.

68-63 Texas

#8 Baylor @ #10 Kansas

Saturday, February 5th 3:00 PM CT, ESPN

This weekend features one of the biggest games in the Big 12 this season, as #8 Baylor (19-3, 7-2) travels to #10 Kansas (18-3, 7-1). Baylor is only half a game behind the Jayhawks and a win here would propel them into first place. A loss would widen the gap between Kansas and the field. The problem with picking this game is the sheer number of players both teams might have out. For Baylor, Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer were both out against West Virginia. On top of that, James Akinjo and Jeremy Sochan have been dealing with injuries but seem like they’re good to go. For Kansas, leading scorer and potential player of the year Ochai Abaji was out in their last game due to COVID protocol. A couple of other bench players were also out for the Jayhawks. So all that to say, this game could be drastically altered depending on what players are and are not on the court. However, the Bears have really not been able to find consistency without some of their top scorers. Kansas, on the other hand, looked like they bounced back really well against Iowa State without Abaji. That plus this game being in Lawrence and I reluctantly have to pick the Jayhawks. Hopefully I’m wrong!

71-68 Kansas

Kansas State @ TCU

Saturday, February 5th 7:00 PM CT, ESPNU

TCU (15-4, 4-3) followed up their big win against LSU with another solid win at Oklahoma. The Horned Frogs have been really sneaky good this season, with a lot of that owing to a number of key transfer players like Mike Miles. Kansas State (11-10, 3-6) picked up a super clutch win at home, that saw Nigel Pack hitting a three with only seconds on the clock to beat Oklahoma State. Both of these teams could really use this win, but that’s especially true for Kansas State that needs to start stringing some wins together to feel good about their tournament chances. TCU beat Kansas State by three in their first game in Manhattan. I suspect the Horned Frogs will be able to complete the sweep in Fort Worth.

72-65 TCU