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Big 12 MBB Preview: 1/10-1/11

A number of teams enter this week of Big 12 play desperately trying to find a conference win, while others look to separate from the pack!

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

Oklahoma State @ #11 Kansas State

Tuesday, January 10th 6:00 PM CT, ESPNU

#11 Kansas State (14-1, 3-0) is off to an electric start to their season under first year head coach Jerome Tang. Their 3-0 opening to conference play includes three top 25 wins, with their most recent victory coming in overtime in Waco against the Bears. They now host Oklahoma State (9-6, 1-2), who should realistically be a step down in the competition the Wildcats have been facing. The Cowboys picked up their lone Big 12 win against West Virginia before losing 56-46 to Texas in their last game. Only amassing 46 points is pretty rough, especially when Kansas State just dropped 116 points on the Longhorns. I’ve got Kansas State winning this one by a wide margin.

93-71 Kansas State

Texas Tech @ #14 Iowa State

Tuesday, January 10th 7:00 PM CT, ESPN+

#14 Iowa State (12-2, 3-0) is another Big 12 team that is off to a mildly surprising, very hot start to their season and conference play. The Cyclones have been in a number of close games so far, but have ultimately pulled away when it matters. That includes a 69-67 win over TCU in their last matchup. They now host Texas Tech (10-5, 0-3) who is a team that desperately needs a conference win. Most recently, the Red Raiders lost to Oklahoma by a margin of 68-63. Their other conference losses were more understandable, losing to teams like TCU and Kansas. But with Oklahoma figuring to be in the lower third of the conference, that’s a tough loss to swallow. The problem for the Red Raiders is there are practically no easy games in the Big 12 this year, and this is a prime example of that. I can’t see Tech winning on the road in Ames.

73-61 Iowa State

Oklahoma @ #2 Kansas

Tuesday, January 10th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN2

#2 Kansas (14-1, 3-0) is off to a perfect start in conference play. And while that’s good news for the Jayhawks, the bad news is they’ve been beating up on teams that combined have only one conference win so far (Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and West Virginia). Oklahoma (10-5, 1-2) is perhaps a marginal step up in the competition, but still not a team that I think will realistically be able to defeat Kansas in Norman. The Sooners only notched their first conference win in their last game against the Red Raiders. Until I see Kansas getting pushed a bit more by some of the bottom half teams, I’ve got them winning, especially when at home.

78-68 Kansas

Baylor @ West Virginia

Wednesday, January 11th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN+

I don’t think I can overemphasize how desperately both of these teams need to win this game. After being a preseason top 10 team, Baylor (10-5, 0-3) still has yet to find a win in Big 12 conference play. That’s not necessarily for lack of effort, as their losses to TCU and Kansas State were both incredibly close. But still, things aren’t quite clicking for the Bears like they should be given the talent on the roster. West Virginia (10-5, 0-3) is also a team that entered Big 12 play ranked, but has been handled by the likes of Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Kansas. In their most recent loss to Kansas, the Mountaineers got down early and never really recovered. This is certainly a game that Baylor should win, although it being on the road concerns me some. I’m picking Baylor here, but if they lose this one I’ll be getting a bit concerned this could be a long season..

78-71 Baylor

#17 TCU @ #10 Texas

Wednesday, January 11th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN2

#10 Texas (13-2, 2-1) bounced back from their 116-103 loss to Kansas State with a 56-46 win at Oklahoma State. The offensive high and low between those two games is kind of ridiculous, so it’s really hard to see where the Longhorns will exist offensively going forward. Still, it was an encouraging sign for Texas that their defense showed up in much better form to hold Oklahoma State to 46. They’ll need that kind of effort against a very high tempo #17 TCU (13-2, 2-1). The Horned Frogs suffered their first conference loss in their last game, coming up just two points shy of the Cyclones. This is one of those matchups that I think is fairly evenly matched, enough so that the teams will probably split the regular season. As such, I’ll give this one to Texas with them playing at home.

73-71 Texas