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Big 12 MBB Preview: 1/27

A huge weekend of Big 12 basketball as a number of teams battle for first on a razor-thin margin!

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

Kansas State @ #4 Houston

Saturday, January 27th 11:00 AM CT, ESPN

#4 Houston (17-2, 4-2) has recovered nicely from a two-game losing streak earlier in conference play, winning their last three games in a row. Their most recent win came on the road at #21 BYU. While the Houston Cougars had to grind that out, they now return home to host Kansas State (14-5, 4-2). The Wildcats were sitting tied at the top of the Big 12, before they suffered a 78-67 loss in Ames. Now Texas Tech holds sole possession of first place in the Big 12. But both of these teams are just a half-game behind first, so this game has potentially huge implications for that conference title race. I think Houston defends their homecourt here.

74-64 Houston

#7 Kansas @ #23 Iowa State

Saturday, January 27th 12:30 PM CT, CBS

#7 Kansas (16-3, 4-2) survived a bit of an upset scare from Cincinnati, who took them down to the wire before the Jayhawks ultimately prevailed, 74-69. Kansas now hits the road to take on #23 Iowa State (15-4, 4-2). The Cyclones picked up another big home win on Wednesday over Kansas State, maintaining their spotless home record on the season. In this clash of basketball rivals that are also both just a half game behind first place, I’ve got Iowa State and their stifling defense upsetting the Jayhawks and continuing their home dominance.

66-64 Iowa State

#20 Texas Tech @ #11 Oklahoma

Saturday, January 27th 1:00 PM CT, ESPN+

#20 Texas Tech (15-3, 4-1) is coming off of a bye during the week which has seen them now jump up to sole possession of first place in the conference. With some extra rest, they now travel to take on #11 Oklahoma (15-4, 3-3). The Sooners got worked on their homecourt by Texas in their last game, losing 75-60. Oklahoma definitely seems like a middle-of-the-pack Big 12 team this year (which still makes them one of the best teams in the country). Tech is a surprising, early contender for the Big 12 title. Nevertheless, I have Oklahoma bouncing back and winning this one in Norman.

74-70 Oklahoma

Texas @ #21 BYU

Saturday, January 27th 1:00 PM CT, ESPN2

Texas (14-5, 3-3) has been shooting the ball really well in their last two wins over Baylor and Oklahoma, which saw them hitting 47.4% and 44.4% of their threes, respectively. The Longhorns will see if they can continue that hot streak at altitude as they travel to Provo to take on #21 BYU (14-5, 2-4). The Cougars had a real shot to take down Houston, but couldn’t quite get over the hump late and lost 75-68. That now saddles BYU with a two-game losing streak. Another loss here and things start looking a little dicey for BYU moving ahead in conference play. Nevertheless, this conference is so stacked from top to bottom that I don’t think many teams are going to go on very long winning or losing streaks. BYU wins this one at home.

68-66 BYU

West Virginia @ Oklahoma State

Saturday, January 27th 1:00 PM CT, ESPN+

Oklahoma State (8-11, 0-6) is in desperation mode for a win. This home game against West Virginia (7-12, 2-4) will probably be their best chance for a conference win all season. The Mountaineers have certainly had their struggles, but randomly got two big home wins over Texas and Kansas. Away games have been a different story for WVU, where they have lost every road Big 12 game by 13 or more. OSU continues to show that they are scrappy, losing at Kansas State by only four and against TCU by only five. So I’ve got them getting their first win in this home game.

74-67 Oklahoma State

TCU @ #15 Baylor

Saturday, January 27th 3:00 PM CT, ESPN2

#15 Baylor (14-4, 3-2) had a mid-week bye to work on righting the ship after back-to-back, incredibly close road losses. With that rest and preparation, they now host an up and down TCU (14-5, 3-3). The Horned Frogs have secured two top-ten wins at home over Oklahoma and Houston. But they have lost two of their three road games in Big 12 play, with their only away conference win coming over bottom-of-the-pack Oklahoma State. That most recent win was also a bit close for comfort, as TCU only won by five (granted, something Baylor had similar struggles with when playing Oklahoma State). This ought to be a gritty rivalry game, but I’ve got the Bears getting back on the right track at home.

82-76 Baylor

UCF @ Cincinnati

Saturday, January 27th 6:00 PM CT, ESPN+

UCF (12-6, 3-3) has actually been performing surprisingly okay in conference play. They have so far alternated wins and losses the entirety of their inaugural Big 12 run, with their most recent loss coming at Houston and their most recent win manifesting as a 13 point home victory over West Virginia. They now travel away to take on Cincinnati (13-6, 2-4). The Bearcats have struggled a bit more, losing their last two games to Oklahoma and Kansas by a frustratingly close, nine points combined. In fact, all of their Big 12 losses have come by only 13 points total. So the Bearcats are certainly a strong team that is a few different bounces away from being near the top of the league. With that, I have them defending their homecourt as UCF is due for its alternating loss.

74-70 Cincinnati