Lots of big games this weekend in Big 12 conference play. Two of these games will have a direct impact on conference tourney first round byes, as Kansas St and Texas A&M try to avenge earlier season losses at Missouri and at Texas.
Currently K-State is in sole possession of second place. A W and they should be able to claim the spot, a loss and Mizzou holds the tie breaker.
Texas and A&M are tied (with Baylor) for the 4th spot. Texas won in Austin earlier this year, so a victory by the Horns will vault them ahead, both by a game and in terms of tiebreakers.
So who's gonna win these, and all the weekend Big 12 games?
Iowa St at Colorado - 12:30p MST
If K-State and Mizzou are playing for a spot as the 2 seed in conference play, then this game is an as important match-up of who will be on the same side of the bracket as those schools in Kansas City. Coming into the game, both CU and the Clones are 3-10 and tied for second to last conference. Iowa St won a nail bitter in Ames in January, but won't be able to pull out its Hilton Magic in Boulder. The guard play of Alec Burks and Cory Higgins will wear out the frontline of Craig Brackins and Marquis Gilstrap in the thin Colorado air.
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(24) Baylor at Oklahoma - 1:30p CST
The Sooners are 4-9 in conference play, and that is mostly with Willie Warren suiting up (he has missed a few games for various reasons). Willie Warren won't be there this time and Tiny Gallon still seems like he isn't in playing shape, so Ekpe Udoh and LaceDarius Dunn should have a fun time inside. Baylor will win going away. The reason to watch though will be Tweety Carter vs Tommy Mason-Griffin. The old floor general vs the up-and-comer.
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(21) Texas at (22) Texas A&M - 1p CST
As stated above, this could determine a first place bye, vs playing Nebraska as the 5 seed. Texas won an overtime thriller in Austin as A&M was just about to peak, which I think they've done. Texas will win this hard-fought intra-state battle.
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(1) Kansas at Oklahoma St - 3p CST
Who's your conference Player of the Year? Whatever your answer, they are in this game. Did you say James Anderson? He's here. Did you say Sherron Collins? He's here. Maybe you even stretched and went with one of the more intimidating forces in the paint suggesting Cole Aldrich? Check. So this game is essentially an all-star game for the conference. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, though, Kansas has more all-stars on its squad and wins to remain unscathed in Big 12 play.
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Texas Tech at Nebraska - 3p CST
Coming into the game, the two teams have five combined conference wins, 80% of them by the Red Raiders. After the game, the two teams have six combined conference wins, 83% of them by the Red Raiders.
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Missouri at (6) Kansas St - 7p CST
Mizzou won a really hard fought game in Columbia against K-State to kick off conference play. The frenetic, back and forth style was a feast for the basketball eye. At that point in the season, though, the Tigers were at the tail-end (pun intended) of a 9 game win streak and the loss snapped the Wildcats 10 game unbeaten mark. Since then K-State is arguably the second hottest team in conference, while Mizzou chugging along, currently ranked 3rd in conference. The Octagon of Doom will be rocking on this Saturday eve and the recent loss of Mizzou's injured frontliner Justin Safford will hurt. K-State doesn't look past Mizzou to their Wednesday match-up with their rivals in Lawrence and wins another hard-fought, gritty game.
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