Bi-weekly, I’ll try to post a small story on the match-ups around the Big 12 and how I view each team compared to one another. I will post the match-up from least interesting to most interesting, along with the viewing info and how I think it will go.
Let’s begin with the midweek games:
Big 12 Schedule: Game One
Iowa State (10-2, 0-0) at Oklahoma State (6-6, 0-0)
|ISU -4.5, O/U 145.5||1/2, 8 p.m., ESPNNews||***|
Match-Up: Oklahoma State and Baylor games will more often than not be right here, FYI. No real bad blood between these teams, but the Cowboys always have upset potential at home. They defeated No. 6 Texas Tech and No. 7 Kansas there last year (Did you know they swept KU last year? Forgot about that).
Iowa State is a really good team, with loses to just Arizona at a neutral court and at Iowa. That being said, I think they have to start out strong in the Big 12. I had this originally as two stars, but Lindell Wigginton came back just in time for conference play. With two other Big 12 games on, I probably won’t watch this.
Prediction: Iowa State is explosive and Oklahoma State has a lot of guys I’m not ready to trust. They are a .500 team right now and still have a lot of figure out. I think Iowa State wins and covers.
Texas (8-4, 0-0) at Kansas State (10-2, 0-0)
|KSU -2, O/U 129||1/2, 8 p.m., ESPNU||***|
Match-up: After starting off hot, UT lost a big lead to Michigan State then lost to three teams that they probably shouldn’t have (although two of those teams might make the tournament). That being said, they have played well against good competition so far and Kansas State is missing Dean Wade.
This game would be a higher rating, but both teams are in a funk and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some ugly basketball early on. That being said, it’s better than the first game and I have two TV’s, so congrats on making it on one of the TVs.
Prediction: Kansas State is really going to think I hate them, but the Big 12 is tough and most teams end up around .500. I’m calling the upset. Texas wins and cover. UT has some good big men like Jaxson Hayes and Jericho Sims, and I don’t think the Wildcats match-up well.
Kansas State’s last six games are two losses, two wins by less than five points and two wins by just over 10 points. I know Texas lost four of their last seven and narrowly won over Purdue, but they’ve played better competition I think.
No. 11 Texas Tech (11-1, 0-0) at West Virginia (8-4, 0-0)
|TTU -4.5, O/U 137.5||1/2, 6 p.m., ESPNU||****|
Match-up: Texas Tech enters Big 12 play on the road, where they have two days ahead of the Mountaineers as far as planning goes. The Red Raiders haven’t really hit a bump in the road so far (they were expected to lost to Duke and played them close), but only played one game with a hostile environment against Nebraska in Kansas City.
However, they have had a turnover problem the last couple games and although this ain’t last year’s West Virginia team, they still like to get at it. On the flip side, West Virginia still is figuring it out with a loss to Rhode Island by double digits and a close win over Jacksonville State. But their crowd gets at it and Texas Tech has a lot of new pieces that haven’t experience anything like this yet.
Prediction: The second place team went 11-7 last year and typically average around 12-6. And Tech went 3-6 on the road losing to the bottom five finishers in the conference. So I’m going to say West Virginia wins and covers.
Wait…Kanote is out…well this changes everything! Tech can attack the rim more (if they don’t settle for threes) and WVU loses their second leading scorer. Tech wins and covers.
No. 23 Oklahoma (11-1, 0-0) at No. 5 Kansas (11-1, 0-0)
|KU -8, O/U 151||1/2, 8 p.m., ESPN2||*****|
Match-up: I am so pumped for this match-up. Although I think you would be wrong, you could argue that these teams are going to finish No. 1 and No. 2 in the Big 12. Oklahoma has continued to impress me throughout their non-conference schedule, while Kansas is still one of the best teams in nation, but with some flaws.
Both teams will be able to stretch the floor and make good passes, which will lead to some good basketball. The key match-up is Dedric Lawson vs Jamuni McNeace, and obviously which team hits more of their outside shots. I probably will miss a most of the first half because West Virginia doesn’t know how to play a game in two hours.
Prediction: Man, this one has the hardest ones to predict. I changed my prediction for the last two games once or twice, but this one I kept on going back and forth in my head.
I’ll say that Kansas narrowly edges Oklahoma, but they don’t cover the spread. Lagerald Vick is on fire right now, and the closest thing Oklahoma has played to Kansas is No. 15 Wisconsin, which they lost to by 20. Almost picked an upset here.
Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 1
- 10. Oklahoma State – They have a .500 record, so I’m going to put them in the cellar. But props for them to attempting for facing undefeated No. 19 Houston and No. 24 Nebraska.
- 9. Baylor – I have not watched Baylor much lately, but they have starting to get some good wins over teams like Oregon and Arizona. They also lost to a good SFA team by one.
- 8. West Virginia – A double digit loss to Rhode Island and a narrow win over Jacksonville State doesn’t bode well for them. Removing them from my expected NCAA tournament teams.
- 7. Texas – Speaking of being bad, the Longhorns had some double digit wins and looked like they were turning the page. Then they lost to Providence, who isn’t awful but you were at home. Think they’re still barely an NCAA tournament team.
- 6. TCU – I defend my case I made a month ago, but they haven’t lost since then and tore apart a USC team Tech defeated by 15 with a 35 point win in Los Angeles. Also some double digit wins at neutral ground. They have one loss and I’ll add them to my NCAA tournament teams.
- 5. Iowa State – This may be unfair to my League Pass team after winning a lot of games by 20+ points, but they lost by 14 points to Iowa and some teams either have played better opponents or haven’t lost.
- 4. Kansas State – I had Kansas State, Iowa State and TCU around the same position and often mixed them around, but I’ll give the Wildcats the benefit of the doubt with the same record as Iowa State and a ton of experience. Way too many close calls though. I know Dean Wade is out but they need to rediscover how to play without him.
- 3. Oklahoma – This team continues to impress me, and their one loss is to a Top 15 team in the country, with just one close call to Northwestern. They have depth everywhere and have what you need for a good team. Great defense, a playmaker in Christian James, tons of depth and the ability to move the ball. Did I also describe Texas Tech?
- 2. Texas Tech – I’m not ready to have the Red Raiders as the best team in the conference, but I would have if they didn’t fall apart in the end against No. 1 Duke. Lot of easy wins outside of the Duke game though, but 11 double digit wins including over No. 23 Nebraska sure helps them. Still have a couple questions.
- 1. Kansas – Since my last rankings, they’ve narrowly escaped Villanova and New Mexico State (to be fair, they were the national champions and No. 12 seed last year respectively) and lost to now unranked Arizona State. Still think this is their conference, but it’s for sure not automatic.