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Big 12 MBB Preview: 1/6

Big 12 men’s basketball conference play is finally here!

NCAA Basketball: Detroit at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

TCU @ #2 Kansas

Saturday, January 6th 1:00 PM CT, CBS

Big 12 conference play gets underway with a really solid matchup as #2 Kansas (12-1) takes on TCU (11-2). Kansas’s only loss on the season so far was to then #4 Marquette. The Jayhawks host the Horned Frogs who have only lost to Nevada and then #24 Clemson. But, TCU doesn’t really have any big wins of note, with their best win coming against Arizona State... with a SHARP decline after that. So I like a far more battle-tested Kansas to win their conference opener at home.

83-71 Kansas

West Virginia @ #3 Houston

Saturday, January 6th 1:00 PM CT, ESPN+

#3 Houston (13-0) begins its inaugural Big 12 basketball campaign by hosting West Virginia (5-8). The Mountaineers are flat out bad this year after an offseason full of coaching turmoil with the loss of Bob Huggins. WVU hasn’t beaten anyone with a pulse and their losses include Radford, UMass, St. John’s, and SMU. And while Houston is far from battle-tested, having played exactly zero top 25 teams so far, they should definitely be able to runover a Mountaineer squad that is limping into Big 12 play.

89-68 Houston

#18 Baylor @ Oklahoma State

Saturday, January 6th 2:00 PM CT, ESPN+

#18 Baylor (11-2) opened up the brand new Foster Pavilion with a win over Cornell on Tuesday. They now open Big 12 play by traveling to Oklahoma State (8-5). The Cowboys have certainly had a subpar opening to their season, losing to the likes of Abilene Christian, St Bonaventure, and Southern Illinois. Still, the Cowboys rattled off five wins (against bad opponents) to enter conference play. So Baylor certainly can’t sleep walk in this road game, but I’ve got the Bears winning by double digits.

92-79 Baylor

Iowa State @ #11 Oklahoma

Saturday, January 6th 5:00 PM CT, ESPN+

#11 Oklahoma (12-1) enters their final Big 12 conference play with a surprisingly good record. OU’s only loss was to then #11 North Carolina, and they’ve secured a top 25 win over then #23 USC. Iowa State (11-2) looks to be an extremely feisty team entering conference play, bouncing back from back-to-back losses to Virginia Tech and Texas A&M with six straight 15+ point wins, including victories over Iowa and DePaul. So far, the Cyclones seem to have an offense that can absolutely dominate weaker competition but falters when faced with a strong defense. I suspect Oklahoma will give Iowa State more than they can handle in a road game.

77-71 Oklahoma

UCF @ Kansas State

Saturday, January 6th 5:00 PM CT, ESPN2

Kansas State (10-3) put together a pretty decent non-conference resume, only losing to USC, Miami, and Nebraska and beating teams like Villanova, LSU, and Wichita State. UCF (9-3) enters its first season of Big 12 conference play with losses to Miami, Ole Miss, and a bad loss to Stetson. None of their wins are anything to write home about. And while I think Kansas State is going to get lost in the pack this year, I’ve got UCF being one of the worst two or three teams in the conference this year. So Wildcats win this Big 12 home opener.

88-76 Kansas State

Texas Tech @ #20 Texas

Saturday, January 6th 7:00 PM CT, ESPN2

#20 Texas (11-2) enters its final season of Big 12 conference play with a decent non-conference resume: they only lost to then #5 UConn and #8 Marquette, but haven’t beaten anyone of note except an okay LSU (Louisville does NOT count as a team of note this year given their 5-7 record). Texas Tech (11-2) put together a serviceable non-conference run, with their only losses coming to Villanova and Butler. However, the Red Raiders have no note-worthy wins (again, a 5-8 Vanderbilt does NOT count as a quality win). So in a certain sense, there’s still a lot of questions surrounding these teams. However, with Texas’s losses coming to superior teams and their having homecourt advantage, I’ve got the Longhorns besting Tech.

79-70 Texas

Cincinnati @ #12 BYU

Saturday, January 6th 9:00 PM CT, ESPN2

#12 BYU (12-1) has been a surprise darling of the NET rankings, coming in at #2 at last check. Their only loss was by four points to Utah, and they beat then #17 San Diego State and Arizona State. But beyond that... the resume honestly isn’t that good? Granted, they’ve clobbered a lot of their competition, but the competition hasn’t been great. So Big 12 conference play will certainly help determine if the Cougars are for real or not. They open their inaugural year of Big 12 conference play by hosting a fellow newcomer, Cincinnati (11-2). The Bearcats have only two losses so far to Xavier and Dayton. Their wins of note are an okay Georgia Tech and...? So neither of these teams are particularly battle-tested, but I have BYU winning at home in this one.

85-77 BYU