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Big 12 MBB Preview: 1/13

After an electric first week of Big 12 play, week two tips off with a weekend filled with intriguing match ups!

NCAA Basketball: Detroit at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

#9 Oklahoma @ #3 Kansas

Saturday, January 13th 1:00 PM CT, ESPN+

Both #9 Oklahoma (13-2, 1-1) and #3 Kansas (13-2, 1-1) are looking to bounce back after road losses to unranked teams. The Sooners fell 80-71 at TCU. That’s an understandable loss in conference play. Kansas, however, lost on the road to UCF, 65-60. That’s a surprising defeat considering UCF had lost to the likes of Stetson earlier in the season and figured to be one of the weaker teams in the conference. That shows how strong the Big 12 is from top to bottom (West Virginia, excluded). So while both of these teams could use a win to regain some momentum, Phog Allen is Phog Allen and I expect Kansas to win this one.

73-68 Kansas

#18 BYU @ UCF

Saturday, January 13th 3:00 PM CT, ESPN+

#18 BYU (12-3, 0-2) blew a huge opportunity against Baylor, who they had a nine point lead against early in the second half. They ultimately ended up losing to the Bears by nine, 81-72. Combine that with the prior loss to Cincinnati and the Cougars have suddenly found themselves in an early hole in Big 12 play. They now travel to UCF (10-4, 1-1) where the Knights are on cloud nine after a huge and unexpected upset win over Kansas. However, I think something has to give eventually and BYU is the better team in this match up.

68-63 BYU

Kansas State @ Texas Tech

Saturday, January 13th 3:00 PM CT, ESPN2

This game marks a battle for the top of the conference, as both Texas Tech (13-2, 2-0) and Kansas State (12-3, 2-0) are in a three way tie for first with Baylor. The Red Raiders have blown out both Texas and Oklahoma State on their way to this point. KState similarly blew out UCF and West Virginia. In a battle of former Scott Drew assistant coaches, I like head coach Grant McCasland and the Red Raiders to get it done at home because, as we’ve already seen, road wins are going to come at an absolute premium in Big 12 play this year.

81-78 Texas Tech

Oklahoma State @ Iowa State

Saturday, January 13th 5:00 PM CT, ESPN2

Iowa State (12-3, 1-1) got to play spoiler over #2 Houston in their last game, topping the Cougars with some defensive Hilton Magic, 57-53. They now host Oklahoma State (8-7, 0-2) who is one of the weaker teams in the conference (although certainly still feisty, as Baylor can attest to after being taken to overtime by the Cowboys). Still, Iowa State is the much more talented team on paper and have a steep homecourt advantage on their side. While Oklahoma State will try to muck up this game defensively, the Cyclones have already proven they’re comfortable competing in ugly, low-scoring affairs.

62-56 Iowa State

#2 Houston @ TCU

Saturday, January 13th 5:00 PM CT, ESPN

#2 Houston (14-1, 1-1) is looking to recover from its first loss of the season to Iowa State as the Cougars travel to Fort Worth. TCU (12-3, 1-1) snagged its own top 10 victory over #9 Oklahoma earlier in the week. Much of that came on the back of a 27 point performance by TCU’s Emanuel Miller. While TCU can’t rely on such high-scoring performances game in and game out, I do like the Horned Frogs to pick up another big win here as it is—and this refrain is going to get tiring but it’s true—very difficult to get road wins in Big 12 conference play, and I think TCU is a highly undervalued team.

62-59 TCU

#25 Texas @ West Virginia

Saturday, January 13th 5:00 PM CT, ESPN+

#25 Texas (12-3, 1-1) bounced back from their opening loss to Texas Tech with a one point win over Cincinnati. That came off of a questionable no call on what seemed like a travel on Texas’s game winning shot. Nevertheless, Texas now gets what should be the easiest road game it will play this season as it travels to West Virginia (5-10, 0-2). I really and truly don’t think the Mountaineers are going to get a conference win this season. Texas wins big here.

88-57 Texas

Cincinnati @ #14 Baylor

Saturday, January 13th 7:00 PM CT, ESPN

#14 Baylor (13-2, 2-0) showed its grit and new homecourt advantage as it took down #18 BYU earlier in the week. The Bears had gone down nine points early in the second half before coming back and winning by nine. Much of that was thanks to a 25 point performance by Jalen Bridges. The Bears now face a solid Cincinnati (12-3, 1-1) who beat BYU and probably should have beaten Texas. While this will certainly be a challenging game, I think Baylor has a nice combo of bigs that can shutdown Cincy’s leading scorer, 6’11” Viktor Lakhin, and shooters who can shoot over and around that interior presence.

73-71 Baylor