Last week I went 3-2, which puts me at 11-6-1 on the season…! Here we go for today:
#16 Oklahoma vs. TCU
The Sooners control their own destiny to a share of the Big 12 Title. Following TCU, they have Iowa State and Kansas. The Sooners have been off all week, well-rested, and ready to kick off this 3-game run on a good note. Plus, OU is coming off wake-up-call win at Texas Tech last week (79-75 OT). TCU has improved, 3-1 in their last 4 games. But, OU is a much more dominant team at home, and TCU recent string of success has all come on their home court. Side note: TCU’s travel plans were messed up with the snow across the region, they took trains instead of buses to Norman. Huge deal? No. But, even the slightest change to a routine for coaches and athletes can play a factor.
The Pick: Oklahoma -10.5
Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech
The Cowboys have gone from a dark horse Big 12 contender to losers of three in a row (TCU, ISU, WVU). Now, the Cowboys just need to solidify themselves for an NCAA Tournament bid with two “easy” games coming up against Tech and TCU. Tech has lost six in a row, but they’ve covered their last two games in Lubbock, both times I went against them. For Tech to have a chance, they must feed Odiase and Smith in the post, try to get LeBryan Nash and Michael Cobbins in foul trouble, and make Oklahoma State use their limited bench. But, Tech is just as likely to try and put up 20-25 three pointers to win.
The Pick: Oklahoma State -5
#20 West Virginia @ #19 Baylor
Both these teams are getting hot at the right time, as they each are riding three game winning streaks. When they met last month, Baylor rolled to an 18-point win in Morgantown. WVU struggled getting anything near the rim against the length and size of the Baylor zone. Having a senior-led back court is key to getting past the non-stop pressure from WVU, and the Bears have that in Kenny Chery. The contrasting styles has favored Baylor, with the Mountaineers beating the Bears just once since joining the Big 12.
The Pick: Baylor -5
#12 Iowa State @ Kansas State
The Cyclones have been notoriously a poor road team, and Manhattan has been an Iowa State nightmare. The ‘Clones have lost 11 of their last 13 games in Manhattan. The Wildcats are coming off a massive win against Kansas earlier this week. They are a tough and gritty team that likes to play low-scoring, ground-you-out, kind of games. This is more or less the opposite of Iowa State, which prefers up tempo contests played into the 80’s. While ISU is still right in in the Big 12 race, it’s the Wildcats who are more desperate as they try to make a late push for the NCAA”s.
The Pick: K-State +4
#8 Kansas vs. Texas
The Jayhawks still are the frontrunners to win the Big 12, but it has been a struggle lately. This week included the road loss to K-State, but even last Saturday was a difficult home win over TCU. Meantime, UT is reeling, in the midst of a three game slide that has put their NCAA Tournament hopes in jeopardy, along with Rick Barnes’ job. If Texas can successfully use their size and length to their advantage, they can absolutely pull off this upset against an over ranked and overrated Jayhawks squad.
The Pick: Texas +7.5