West Virginia @ Oklahoma
Saturday, January 14th 11:00 AM CT ESPN2
Another set of conference games, and another matchup of two Big 12 teams that are in desperate need of a win. West Virginia (10-6, 0-4) came up just a bit short in their battle against Baylor on Wednesday. That set them back to an 0-4 start to conference play, a highly disappointing mark after entering Big 12 play ranked in the top 25. For Oklahoma (10-6, 1-3), their lone conference win came against Texas Tech before losing a heartbreaker to Kansas. Both of these teams are dangerous, and in a league that is likely to put eight, maybe even nine, teams into the tournament, either one of these programs just need to string together some wins. Which is what makes these “battle of the bottom” games so important. I think these teams are pretty close talent wise, with Oklahoma taking a slight edge. So with the Sooners playing at home, I like them to win this one.
#11 Kansas State @ #17 TCU
Saturday, January 14th 1:00 PM CT, ESPN2
#17 TCU (13-3, 2-2) came up just shy of a win against Texas on Wednesday. With that loss, the Frogs fall to .500 in league play and have to square off against one of the hottest teams in the conference in #11 Kansas State (15-1, 4-0). The Wildcats have been lighting it up offensively, scoring more than 80 points in all but one of their conference games, with the high mark of 116 in their meeting with Texas. However, KSU hit a relative offensive slump in their last win against Oklahoma State, only amassing 65 points. Still, Kansas State showed that they have some defensive chops to go along with their offensive production. TCU is a team that is going to push it offensively, but I think the Wildcats can match that offensive energy. I’ve got Kansas State staying undefeated in the Big 12 here.
88-83 Kansas State
#14 Iowa State @ #2 Kansas
Saturday, January 14th 3:00 PM CT, ESPN+
This is a huge, early matchup in Big 12 play. #14 Iowa State (13-2, 4-0) has been nothing short of electric in conference play, with their latest win coming in the form of an 84-50 beatdown of Texas Tech. Similarly, #2 Kansas (15-1, 4-0) has remained undefeated in Big 12 contests. But while the Jayhawks are plenty talented, their league games have been pretty close and required some late game luck and tenacity. In fact, only one of the Jayhawks’ four Big 12 wins has been by a margin of more than four. This is another one of those matchups where I think Iowa State and Kansas split their regular season meetings. And Phog Allen is a notoriously difficult place to play. However, at this moment Iowa State is playing a higher level of basketball. So I like the Cyclones to steal one in Lawrence.
71-69 Iowa State
Oklahoma State @ Baylor
Saturday, January 14th 5:00 PM CT, ESPN2
Baylor (11-5, 1-3) picked up a huge, extremely needed win in Morgantown over West Virginia on Wednesday. After a slew of close losses, the Bears finally pulled off a close win on the back of 32 points by Keyonte George. Baylor really needs to build momentum now with another very winnable game in Waco. Oklahoma State (9-7, 1-3) is in a similar spot to Baylor in conference play in the sense that their only Big 12 win was also over West Virginia. The Cowboys are not a team that is going to score a bunch of points, having scored 46 and 57 in their last two games. But they do play tough defense. So Baylor’s offense will need to be locked in if they want to start a winning streak. And I think Baylor will be able to do just that, as they have multiple players that can score with enough ferocity to overcome OSU’s relatively weak offense.
Texas Tech @ #10 Texas
Saturday, January 14th 7:00 PM CT, ESPN
#10 Texas (13-2, 3-1) inched out a close win on Wednesday against TCU, keeping them in striking distance at one game back from the leaders of the pack in the Big 12. Texas’s defense has certainly been questionable in some key moments this season, but their offense has been electric enough to largely cover for those issues. On the other side of the court, Texas Tech (10-6, 0-4) is looking down the barrel of an 0-4 Big 12 start that could very easily slide to 0-5 here. The wheels completely fell off in the Red Raiders’ most recent game, as they lost 84-50 to Iowa State. While there are no certainties in this year’s Big 12, I feel pretty darn good about picking Texas over Texas Tech, especially in Austin.