Texas Tech at Texas
Saturday, January 17 at 12:00 p.m. - LHN
At the start of conference play, I would not have thought much about this game. Texas Tech had an unimpressive slate of non-conference games and didn't do great with those games, while Texas looked like world beaters, taking down three ranked teams. Fast forward a couple of weeks and these teams have the same conference record. Texas has shown vulnerability, and have lost both of their road games. Tech, on the other hand, went into West Virginia and beat them by better than Texas did at home (or we did, for that matter).
Overall I still think this game strongly favors Texas, with them returning home. However, this could be a look ahead let down spot for Texas as they are playing Baylor on Monday. Tech has two games worth of film to watch and get ready for exploiting Texas' weaknesses.
Prediction: Texas 75-58. Texas cannot afford to sustain a three game losing streak, especially heading on the road on Monday to face Baylor. Karen Aston will have her players ready to play and will show the nation (or at least the 12 viewers on LHN) that they had a small fluke for two games and are ready to play.
Oklahoma at TCU
Saturday, January 17 at 1:00 p.m. - FSSW
This is a game of "Who da thunk it". Who would have thought that the team with the most non-conference losses would be one of two teams undefeated in conference after four games? Who would have thought the team with the worst non-conference schedule would be riding a three-game winning streak?
I think this game will be an interesting match up. Oklahoma started off the season slow but has been playing solid and has picked up two road wins in the Big 12. TCU has shocked a number of observers with how well they have been playing as of late and have been perfect at home in conference, even against superior opponents.
Prediction: 74-69 Oklahoma. While TCU has been winning at home, both wins have been close. Oklahoma, on the other hand, has been winning by double digit regardless of the venue. I think that Oklahoma will lead in most statistical categories but TCU will find a way to keep it close, maybe even having a nice run at the end to make the game a tougher finish for Oklahoma.
West Virginia at Oklahoma State
Saturday, January 17 at 1:30 p.m. - FS2
West Virginia is the best team with four losses in conference. Three of their losses have been to arguably three of the best teams in conference (BU, UT, OU). Oklahoma State, on the other hand, lost to a surging TCU and Baylor but embarrassed Texas Tech.
This game does have some potential. Oklahoma State is looking to get above .500 in conference and show themselves to be a conference contender. West Virginia is hoping to show that their poor start is a fluke and that they can salvage this year instead of it being a transitional year after last year's success. When you have two teams playing not only to get a win but to try and prove a point, the game can make for an interesting matchup.
Prediction: 69-56 Oklahoma State. West Virginia should be able to right the ship, but this is not the game for that to happen. Picking up a win on the road in the Big 12 is challenging, regardless of the competition, and I think that West Virginia's recent struggles will only add to that challenge.
Baylor at Kansas
Saturday, January 17 at 2:00 p.m. - JTV
OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH KANSAS— Santa Beebe (@DanBeebe) December 23, 2014
Prediction: ∞-0 Baylor. Or 78-44. Baylor's defense has been smothering better opponents for most of the year, but especially in conference. Kansas only has one scoring threat on the inside, so look for Baylor to collapse on her and force the outside shot. On offense, this game could be a good opportunity for Kim to work the ball around and let a number of players to get touches and minutes while letting her key starters maybe rest a bit more in anticipation of the match up against Texas on Monday. At least Kansas has the men's team, right?
Iowa State at Kansas State
Saturday, January 17 at 7:00 p.m. - FCS-Central
Iowa State and Kansas State have already met once this year, with Iowa State coming away with the win. Since then they seemed like world beaters by taking down Texas at home but then got whipped up on by Baylor. Kansas State, in turn, has lost to Baylor and Oklahoma State while beating Kansas.
I have commented on several occasions that this conference is a whole lot of unknowns, and this match up continues that feeling. Iowa State looked to be a top program beating Texas, but how much of that was Hilton Magic (not saying luck, but Iowa State is a team that plays significantly better at home) and how much of that was an improving team? Jeff Mittie is a new coach looking to rebuild Kansas State but has been struggling in conference. Could this be the game that helps start moving the needle on year?
Prediction: 60-55 Kansas State. So the score is a bit of a cop-out (reversing the last head-to-head), but I really think that these are two fairly similar teams and that the home court advantage will help Kansas State pick up the W.