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Big 12 Conference Rundown: Heavyweight Matchup Looming

Kansas to Visit Reigning National Champion Baylor in Collision of Top-10 Foes

There will be no lack of compelling matchups in the Big 12 Conference, with six of the 10 games this week featuring at least one ranked team, but there is little question about which contest will draw the most attention.

Kansas will travel to play Baylor on Saturday in a game between two top-10 teams with legitimate national championship aspirations. Kansas (+120) has the best odds to win the Big 12 title followed closely by Baylor at +160.

Big 12 Conference Rundown
Big 12 Conference Rundown

That game also includes one of the top national player of the year candidates as Kansas’ Ochai Agbaji (+600) trails Johnny Davis of Wisconsin and Oscar Tshiebwe of Kentucky. Baylor’s top candidate is guard James Akinjo at +6000, but his odds could start trending back in the positive direction if he rediscovers his form from earlier in the season before being slowed by injury.

Seven of the 10 teams in the conference have two or fewer losses at home, led by Texas Tech’s 13-0 mark. That will certainly change in the coming days and weeks.

Game of the Week

Baylor Bears at Kansas Jayhawks

  • Date, time, TV: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET ESPN

There will be no lack of quality matchups to pick, with six Big 12 games this week featuring at least one team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. Still, it is pretty hard to pick against Saturday’s huge showdown between No. 10 Kansas and No. 8 Baylor.

The game had a chance to be a top-five showdown but both teams tumbled in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll.

Three of the last four meetings have gone under the total.

Four of the last six games between the teams have been determined by eight points or less.

Kansas  (17-3, 6-1 in the Big 12) has covered in each of the last three meetings with Baylor (18-3, 6-2).

The Jayhawks won 11 meetings in a row from 2014-18, but the series has been much more competitive recently with reigning national champion Baylor winning three of the last seven games in the series.

Kansas finished January 4-0 in games decided by three points or less while Baylor is playing just its second home game since Jan. 15.

Here’s a team-by-team breakdown with some information and trends to consider for those who bet online.

Baylor Bears

Baylor has won five of its last six games against West Virginia and covered in four of those six games heading into Monday’s showdown in Waco, where the Bears are 10-2.

Four of the last six games between Baylor and West Virginia have gone over the total.

Baylor started the season 8-2-1 against the spread but is 4-6 since. Plenty of eyes will be on Bears leading scorer LJ Cryer, who was a late scratch from Saturday’s loss at Alabama.

Iowa State Cyclones

No. 20 Iowa State (16-5, 3-5) has been a double-digit underdog in each of its last four games against Kansas

The last six games between Texas and Iowa State have gone over the total set by the Las Vegas odds.

The Cyclones have covered in three of the last four games against Texas after covering in one of the previous eight contests.

Only one of Iowa State’s last four games has been decided by less than 12 points.

The Cyclones are 5-1 against the spread in the last six games that were decided by less than 10 points.

Iowa State had a rare laugher the last time out, leading visiting Missouri by as many as 20 points en route to the 67-50 victory.

Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas will play at Iowa State on Tuesday looking for its sixth win a row against the Cyclones, although Iowa State did cover in the meeting between the teams on Jan. 11 with a one-point loss as a 13-point underdog.

The Jayhawks have failed to cover in each of its last four games and in six of the last seven.

Second-leading scorer Christian Braun has scored in double figures in all four games against ranked opponents.

Kansas State Wildcats

The last four games between Kansas State and Oklahoma State have gone under the total. The story is pretty much the same for the Wildcats against Texas Christian, which will play host to Kansas State on Saturday. Their last five matchups all finishing under the total.

Kansas State (10-10, 2-6) is 2-4-1 against the spread in its last seven home games heading into Wednesday’s showdown with visiting Oklahoma State.

The Wildcats won the last three games at TCU and covered against the college basketball spreads in each of them.

Third-leading scorer Mark Smith has been all or nothing in recent games, with a pair of 20-point outings sandwiched around scoring eight points on 3-of-18 shooting in a pair of games.

Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma kicks off the week by playing host to Texas Christian in a game airing on ESPN2.

The Sooners (13-8, 3-5) had beaten TCU eight straight times heading into a matchup on Jan. 15. Five of those previous eight matchups were decided by five points or less and all the close calls finally caught up to the Sooners as TCU won 59-58 in overtime. Now they meet again with the history of the series definitely on Oklahoma’s side: The Sooners are 14-0 at home against the Horned Frogs.

Oklahoma has been favored in 13 of the last 14 meetings with Oklahoma State heading into Saturday’s matchup between the in-state rivals. The Sooners have covered in just seven of those matchups and are also 7-7 straight up in those games.

Oklahoma has failed to cover in four of its last six games.

Leading scorer Tanner Groves is 5 of 9 from 3-point range in his last three games.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Oklahoma State (10-0, 3-5) plays at Kansas State on Wednesday looking for its fifth straight win in the series, although three of those games have been decided by seven points or less. The Cowboys have won the last two games played at Kansas State.

Oklahoma State is 5-1 in the last six games when the Cowboys played host to rival Oklahoma. They are 4-2 against the spread in those games.

The Cowboys are 3-11 against the spread in their last 14 games and are 1-7 against the spread in their last eight home games

Oklahoma State is 10-3 against unranked opponents. The Cowboys are just 1-3 since their upset of then top-ranked Baylor.

Texas Longhorns

No. 23 Texas (16-5, 5-3) will make the trip to Lubbock to meet Texas Tech in the first meeting between the teams since a one-point win by the Longhorns in the 2021 Big 12 tournament. It was the fifth straight game between the teams decided by 10 points or less. Texas advanced to the Big 12 title game after a positive COVID-19 test led to Kansas withdrawing from the tournament. The Longhorns won the championship with a 91-86 win over Oklahoma State.

Three of the last four times that Texas hosted Iowa State, the game was decided by six points or less.

Four of the last five Texas games have been decided by less than 10 points with the Longhorns covering in only one of them.

The Longhorns are just 12 of 24 from the foul line in the last two games.

Texas Christian Horned Frogs

Texas Christian (14-4, 3-3) has been held under 70 points in the last 13 meetings with Kansas State and 11 of those matchups finished under the total.

The Horned Frogs will be looking to sweep the season series with the Wildcats for the second time in the last three years. TCU won on the road as a 3½-point underdog on Jan. 12.

The Horned Frogs have covered in five of the last six games.

Mike Miles flirted with a triple-double in TCU’s upset of Louisiana State on Saturday before finishing with 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Texas Tech (16-5, 5-3) has won seven of the last eight games against Texas before the 67-66 loss in the 2021 Big 12 tourney.

The 14th-ranked Red Raiders have struggled over the years in the series with West Virginia, but thanks to a 78-65 win on Jan. 22, Texas Tech can sweep the season series with a victory on Saturday. The last time that happened came with two wins just over a month apart in 2019.

Texas Tech has covered in its last four games and in eight of the last nine contests.

The Red Raiders are the only Big 12 team still undefeated at home but they are just 1-4 in true road games.

Kevin Obanor is averaging 15.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in his last four games.

West Virginia Mountaineers

The Mountaineers (13-7, 2-5) had won five of six against Baylor from 2016-18, but they head into Monday’s showdown having dropped five of the last six meetings and they have covered just twice during that span.

West Virginia’s last four games against Texas Tech have all finished over the total. Two of the last three times that Texas Tech played at West Virginia, the game was determined by three points or less.

West Virginia’s last five games have all gone over the total, although the Mountaineers have lost each of those contests and failed to cover in every one.

The Mountaineers were called for 29 fouls that resulted in 34 free throws by Arkansas in Saturday’s 77-68 loss.

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