#11 Baylor @ #10 Texas
Monday, January 30th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN
Monday night features a huge showdown in the Lonestar State with substantial conference race implications, as #10 Texas (17-4, 6-2) hosts #11 Baylor (16-5, 5-3). Baylor is one of the hottest teams in the nation right now, having won six games in a row to propel them to a game back from a share of first place in the Big 12. That winning streak includes a close, gutsy win on Saturday over Arkansas as a part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Texas is no slouch either, as the Longhorns are tied for first in the Big 12. However, their recent stretch of games is less impressive, having lost two of their last four games including an eleven point loss to Tennessee on Saturday. I really think this is going to be an offensive explosion of a game as both teams are clearly capable of scoring at high volumes. With that, the key for Baylor will be limiting the length and severity of their seemingly inevitable shooting drop off that happens most games. If the Bears can ride that storm, I like their chances here. I’m going with the hot hand.
#13 Iowa State @ Texas Tech
Monday, January 30th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN2
#13 Iowa State (15-5, 6-2) is currently tied for first place in the Big 12, despite a very underwhelming stretch where they have lost three of their last five games. That includes a blowout loss at Missouri. Still, they are one of the premier teams in the Big 12 as things currently stand. Texas Tech (11-10, 0-8) most certainly is not, as the Red Raiders are sitting winless in the Big 12. Still, Tech was able to defeat LSU on the road on Saturday. Perhaps that win will provide the confidence needed to start building momentum? I don’t see that happening in this game, but if Texas Tech could win this that would be a huge step forward. Iowa State beat Tech in their meeting earlier this season by a whopping 34 points. I see this one being closer as it is in Lubbock, but still an Iowa State win.
75-68 Iowa State
#7 Kansas State @ #8 Kansas
Tuesday, January 31st 7:00 PM CT, ESPN+
Part two of the Sunflower Showdown gets underway Tuesday night as #7 Kansas State (18-3, 6-2) travels to Lawrence to take on #8 Kansas (17-4, 5-3). This game, once again, will likely have a huge influence on how the Big 12 conference race takes shape. Kansas finally snapped a three game losing streak with a win at Kentucky over the weekend. Kansas State put on a defensive clinic against Florida in their weekend win, holding the Gators to 50 and securing a 14 point victory. So both teams have momentum coming into this game. The Wildcats beat the Jayhawks in Manhattan in a thriller in their first meeting this season. That win was decided in overtime by a one point margin. So one would think that Kansas has the edge here at home, and I tend to agree with that line of thought. Kansas gets revenge in a close one.
West Virginia @ #15 TCU
Tuesday, January 31st 8:00 PM CT, ESPNU
#15 TCU (16-5, 5-3) faces some big questions as they enter this game against West Virginia (13-8, 2-6). Not only did the Horned Frogs lose in overtime to unranked Mississippi State, their leading scorer, Mike Miles Jr., was sidelined early in the game with an apparent knee injury. Given he had to be helped off the court and sat out the rest of the game, his status is certainly questionable moving forward. That’s a massive loss of for TCU if he misses substantial playing time. Meanwhile, WVU picked up a huge tournament resume win over the weekend by taking down then #15 Auburn. That’s two wins in a row for the Mountaineers, and three wins in their last four games. So momentum is clearly on WVU’s side. In fact, the Mountaineers beat TCU just four games ago by nine points. With TCU likely missing their best player, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if West Virginia does it again.
74-71 West Virginia
Oklahoma State @ Oklahoma
Wednesday, February 1st 8:00 PM CT, ESPN2
The second edition of this year’s Bedlam Series should certainly prove to be an interesting one, as Oklahoma (12-9, 2-6) enters with a serious momentum boost. The Sooners absolutely annihilated then #2 Alabama over the weekend, winning by an eye-popping 93-69 margin. The question will be if that was a one game aberration or something that the Sooners can continue to build off of. Oklahoma State (12-9, 3-5) got its own momentum boost with a comfortable, 22 point win over Ole Miss. That marks three wins in the last four games for the Cowboys, which includes a 16 point win over Oklahoma in these two’s first meeting. I think Oklahoma might have figured something out on Saturday, so I’m rolling with them in this game, especially at home.