West Virginia @ Oklahoma State
Monday, January 2nd 6:00 PM CT, ESPNU
West Virginia (10-3, 0-1) opened Big 12 conference play with a tough, overtime road loss to Kansas State on Saturday. The upside for the Mountaineers was that they outrebounded the Wildcats by 14 boards. The glaring issue they need to clean up is that they turned the ball over 20 times, compared to Kansas State’s 11. They now travel to Oklahoma State (8-5, 0-1) who came up just two points short of beating Kansas in Lawrence. The closeness of that game came from a hot three point shooting performance, with OSU hitting 44.8% from deep. However, I don’t expect that to be consistent for the Cowboys this season. Alternatively, I think the Mountaineers will be able to clean up their turnover woes. I like WVU in this one.
75-66 West Virginia
#3 Kansas @ Texas Tech
Tuesday, January 3rd 8:00 PM CT, ESPN2
#3 Kansas (12-1, 1-0) survived a nail biter against Oklahoma State on Saturday. They hit the road to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech (10-3, 0-1). The Red Raiders looked like they were in control of their game against TCU midway through the second half before fading away and getting handed a tough loss. And that was even with TCU only shooting 14.3% from three. To further complicate things for the Red Raiders, they turned the ball over 23 times to TCU’s 15. I fear what might happen to this Texas Tech squad when they face a team that can drill threes and turn over their opponent. Kansas is just that team.
Kansas State @ #6 Texas
Tuesday, January 3rd 8:00 PM CT, LHN
#6 Texas (12-1, 1-0) escaped Oklahoma by the narrowest of one point margins on Saturday. They now have to turn around and face Kansas State (12-1, 1-0) who is fresh off of an overtime victory over West Virginia. For the Longhorns, they’ll look to shore up their defense moving forward as they had a difficult time getting stops to build up much of a lead. For the Wildcats, they’ll need to shoot better than their 18.8% from three point range against WVU moving forward if they want to be a consistent threat in conference. I like the Longhorns to win this one at home.
#25 Iowa State @ Oklahoma
Wednesday, January 4th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN2
#25 Iowa State (10-2, 1-0) got down early to Baylor over the weekend, but did not let that faze them as they took the lead before half and never gave it back up. They now travel to Oklahoma (9-4, 0-1) who is trying to bounce back from a heartbreaking, one point loss to rival Texas. Iowa State is a dangerous team this year. They still have the strong defense from a year ago, but are combining that with more consistent scoring and post play. That scoring was evident in their game against Baylor, where they shot 50% from the field and 43.5% from three. I think the Cyclones are a sleeper in the Big 12 this year, and I like them to beat Oklahoma on the road.
72-63 Iowa State
#17 TCU @ #19 Baylor
Wednesday, January 4th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN2
#19 Baylor (10-3, 0-1) suffered a disappointing loss in their opening of conference play to Iowa State. Baylor is a young team that will continue to get better as the season goes on, but that immaturity showed in Ames, as the Bears relied heavily on veteran Adam Flagler in the first half, but couldn’t find a rhythm once Iowa State adjusted defensively to cover him more thoroughly. #17 TCU (12-1, 1-0) is another solid team that might be a threat in the Big 12 conference race. The Horned Frogs showed a mature resilience in their comeback win against Texas Tech. That’s something that concerns me when matching up with Baylor early in conference play. Nevertheless, Baylor’s roster has more raw talent. So it’s hard for me to pick against them when I know that talent can and will explode any given game.