#2 Kansas @ #13 Kansas State
Tuesday, January 17th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN
Another year, another season of #2 Kansas (16-1, 5-0) barely skating by with win after win to currently have sole possession of first place in the Big 12. The Jayhawks had to battle it out until the final buzzer in Lawrence on Saturday as they hosted Iowa State. They now turn their attention to their very dangerous instate rival, #13 Kansas State (15-2, 4-1). The Wildcats suffered their first conference loss of the season on Saturday to TCU, but there’s no doubt that Jerome Tang and KState will be amped up for this game. This is a matchup where I think these teams will split their regular season meetings, so I like Kansas State to hand Kansas their first conference loss in Manhattan.
78-75 Kansas State
#7 Texas @ #12 Iowa State
Tuesday, January 17th 7:00 PM CT, ESPN+
#12 Iowa State (13-3, 4-1) suffered their first conference loss in fairly heartbreaking fashion, coming up just shy of upsetting Kansas in Lawrence. They now need to regroup as they face another very good team in #7 Texas (15-2, 4-1). The Longhorns survived their own challenge from Texas Tech on Saturday, resorting to late game fouling to ensure that the Red Raiders were unable to get up a three point attempt that could have tied the game. This will be an interesting game of opposing styles, as Iowa State plays much stronger defense than the Longhorns but Texas has the better offense. And this result could have a big impact on the conference race, as both teams are positioned just one game back from Kansas. I like Iowa State at home in Hilton in this one.
73-68 Iowa State
#21 Baylor @ Texas Tech
Tuesday, January 17th 8:00 PM CT, ESPNU
Is that... the smell of momentum for #21 Baylor (12-5, 2-3)? After starting conference play 0-3, the Bears have since pulled off two wins in a row: a road win against West Virginia and a home blowout of Oklahoma State. Both of those victories held positives in their own right and were just what the doctor ordered for Baylor to regain some confidence. The Bears have a chance to keep building on that as they travel to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech (10-7, 0-5). The Red Raiders are down bad for a conference win right now, so the Bears will need to be careful as they enter hostile territory. And the frustrating thing for Tech is that all but one of their conference losses have been by 6 points or less. So they’re right there, but just can’t finish. I expect this to be another close one, but I think the Bears are finally building momentum and have the talent to separate here.
#14 TCU @ West Virginia
Wednesday, January 18th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN+
#14 TCU (14-3, 3-2) got back into the winning column on Saturday after suffering two straight losses before that. The Horned Frogs pulled together a strong, 14 point win over then #11 Kansas State. That should help restore any confidence that was shaken for TCU as they travel to Morgantown to take on West Virginia (10-7, 0-5). The Mountaineers’ fall from grace in conference play has been particularly rough, as they entered as a top 25 team and have lost every game since. So West Virginia needs a win very badly. However, I don’t think TCU is the team that they can do that against, as the Horned Frogs are built to run all over weaker teams that might be losing their morale.
Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State
Wednesday, January 18th 8:00 PM CT, ESPNU
Bedlam hits Stillwater as Oklahoma State (9-8, 1-4) hosts Oklahoma (11-6, 2-3). The Cowboys have had a really rough stretch of conference games after opening with a close loss to Kansas and a win over West Virginia. Since then, they have lost three straight by a combined 34 points. Hosting their instate rival Oklahoma, who is certainly beatable, is potentially just what the doctor ordered. The Sooners have only beaten West Virginia and Texas Tech, two of the weaker teams in the conference. Granted, their three losses have been by a combined 8 points, so they are on the cusp of being really solid. While this is a potentially good spot for the Cowboys, I just think the Sooners are playing much stronger basketball at the moment.