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Big 12 MBB Preview: 1/7

Big 12 action continues on Saturday with a full slate of conference matchups!

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma State at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

#6 Texas @ Oklahoma State

Saturday, January 7th 11:00 AM CT, ESPNU

#6 Texas (12-2, 1-1) lost one of the wildest games in recent Big 12 conference play memory on Tuesday, as they were defeated by Kansas State with an eye-popping final score of 116-103. So clearly, at least in their most recent game, the offense was not a problem for Texas. The defense, however, was a glaring issue. On the other side, Oklahoma State (9-5, 1-1) picked up a nice win over West Virginia on Monday. While the Cowboys only scored 67 points in their win, I highly doubt Texas will be scoring over 100 points regularly, if ever again this season. So this game will come down to establishing a defensive presence. I actually like Oklahoma State to steal an upset at home in this one.

78-75 Oklahoma State

#25 Iowa State @ #17 TCU

Saturday, January 7th 1:00 PM CT, ESPNU

This is a really interesting matchup, as #25 Iowa State (11-2, 2-0) takes on #17 TCU (12-2, 2-0) in a meeting between two teams that are undefeated so far in conference play. In their last game, Iowa State secured a big road win over Oklahoma which required some grittiness down the stretch. TCU needed similar late game toughness to beat Baylor in their last contest. TCU is a team that is going to relentlessly push the ball on fast break opportunities. Iowa State is one of the better defensive teams in the country, ranking 9th in overall scoring defense. So this should be a strength on strength match up. I see these teams splitting their regular season meetings, so I’ll give TCU the win at home.

73-71 TCU

Kansas State @ #19 Baylor

Saturday, January 7th 5:00 PM CT, ESPN+

The battle of former head coach and assistant coach gets underway as Scott Drew and #19 Baylor (10-4, 0-2) take on Jerome Tang and Kansas State (13-1, 2-0). The Bears are in desperate search of a win, after starting conference play with two tough losses. Their last loss to TCU was particularly disappointing, given how big of a lead they built up early and the opportunities they had at the end of the game. Kansas State, on the other hand, has opened conference play with two wins including their eye-popping 116-103 win over top 10 Texas. Baylor is too good of a team to continue sliding in conference play. However, the Bears will need to show some mental toughness in this one as Kansas State is a very solid team that can challenge the Bears’ sometimes struggling defense. I like Baylor here, but a Kansas State win is certainly a strong possibility.

77-75 Baylor

#3 Kansas @ West Virginia

Saturday, January 7th 5:00 PM CT, ESPN+

#3 Kansas (13-1, 2-0) escaped with a win from a very close game in Lubbock on Tuesday. The Jayhawks now continue their road tilt as they travel to Morgantown to take on West Virginia (10-4, 0-2). After starting conference play ranked, the Mountaineers have taken two tough losses. Their most recent was a seven point loss at Oklahoma State. A win here would obviously right the ship for WVU, but I just don’t see it with the talent differential between them and Kansas. Texas Tech shot 47.6% from three and still couldn’t get over the hump and beat the Jayhawks. Kansas wins going away.

78-67 Kansas

Oklahoma @ Texas Tech

Saturday, January 7th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN+

Texas Tech (10-4, 0-2) came up just three points shy of a huge win over Kansas during the week. Now, they’re looking down the barrel of an 0-2 start to conference play. The Red Raiders need to do everything they can in this game to not let that slip to 0-3. Oklahoma (9-5, 0-2) is in that exact same position after their three point loss to Iowa State on Wednesday. The Sooners got down big early, but battled their way back and had the game tied up with under a minute left, but ultimately could not pull out the victory. One of these teams is going to be winless in conference play and the other is going to get a much needed boost. Ultimately, Tech is the better team and with this game being at home, I’ve got the Red Raiders winning by just under double digits.

76-67 Texas Tech