Big 12 men’s basketball picks: Weekend selections for December 21-22


Dec 7, 2013; Des Moines, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Fred Hoiberg talks to guard Naz Long (15) during their game agains the Northern Iowa Panthers at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

All 10 Big 12 men’s basketball teams will be in action over the weekend, making it the final big weekend of conference action before the turn of the calendar year.

Of course, the Iowa State Cyclones will open up tournament play at the Diamond Head Classic against George Mason on Sunday night. We’ll have full coverage of the three-day event here at Clones Confidential, so pop in from time-to-time – be it while enjoying your holiday break or at work on your phone when you’re not supposed to.

Anyway, here’s what will be happening before the DHC and how we think the Big 12 will do. Both Brian Voss and myself picked all the games correctly with the conference not suffering a loss during the entire weekend.

Central times are listed with networks listed immediately after. Rankings reflect latest USA Today Coaches poll.

Tulsa at TCU – Saturday, 11:00 AM (FSN)

Spaen: Kyan Anderson is the biggest talent on the Horned Frogs, and he’s doing possible to make TCU the best it can be the season. He’s scoring at will, reaching double figures in the last four games. This is actually a rematch of an earlier matchup in the Great Alaskan Shootout tournament and both squads have played each other each year since 2010. The Golden Hurricane have dominated recently but the Horned Frogs took the game earlier this season. It’s hard to beat anyone twice in a year, and I expect Tulsa to get the upper hand this time around. Tulsa

Dec 14, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Wayne Selden, Jr. (1) scores a basket against New Mexico Lobos forward Cameron Bairstow (41) in the second half at Sprint Center. Kansas won 80-63. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Georgetown at (19)Kansas – Saturday, 11:00 AM (ESPN)

Voss: Neither of these have been impressive this season. A young Kansas team should be able to win this game and start to get the season back on track. Never count out a Bill Self coached basketball team. Kansas

(15)Gonzaga vs Kansas State – Saturday, 2:30 PM (ESPN2)

Voss: Despite a slow start K-State has won their last five. Gonzaga currently sits at 10-1 and has several wins over major conference opponents. Gonzaga should be able to take this game handily. Gonzaga

(5)Michigan State  at Texas – Saturday, 3:00 PM (CBS)

Spaen: The Longhorns have come a long way since barely edging Mercer to open the season. North Carolina was arguably an overrated opponent, but there’s nothing weak about the Spartans. This could be another huge step for a very young Longhorns team to contend for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid, but the MSU defense should contain Jonathan Holmes and Demarcus Holland enough to get the win in Austin. Michigan State 

Texas Tech  at Arizona State – Saturday, 5:30 PM (Pac-12 Networks)

Voss: Unfortunately these two schools are playing in basketball rather than football. Tech has a 7-4 record with all four losses coming against major conference opposition. Arizona St. is 9-2 and suffered a 28 point loss to then 20th ranked Creighton on November 28th. I think Tech wins this one in a close game. Texas Tech

Oklahoma (10-1) vs Texas A&M (8-2) – Saturday, 6:00 PM (ESPNU)

Spaen: Former Big 12 opponents will collide in the next installment of the Big 12/SEC challenge. The Sooners sleptwalk through their way-too-close victory over Texas-Arlington during the week. The Aggies are an overblown 8-2, getting fat off of a 308th-ranked SOS. They haven’t won on the road yet and the trend should continue at the Toyota Center; TAMU’s defense will be exposed. Oklahoma

Dec 1, 2013; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys forward/center Kamari Murphy (21) shoots against the Memphis Tigers during the second half at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Memphis Tigers defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys 73-68. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

(7)Oklahoma State vs (24)Colorado – Saturday, 10:30 PM (ESPN2)

Voss: Both these teams are 10-1. The Cowboys have a loss to Memphis and Colorado suffered an early season loss to Baylor. Oklahoma State’s athleticism will prevail in a very close game. Oklahoma State

Purdue at West Virginia – Sunday, 12:00 PM (ESPNU)

Spaen: Can the Boilermakers be physical with the Mountaineers? Purdue’s best win is against Eastern Michigan while their three losses are against their toughest opponents. They were able to put up 87 on Oklahoma State but only 54 against Washington State in the next day of the Old Spice Classic tournament back during Thanksgiving. I think WVU’s defense will get the edge. West Virginia

Southern at (15)Baylor – Sunday, 4:00 PM (FSN)

Voss: Southern has some respectable losses against good competition and Baylor is Baylor, but even the Bears shouldn’t have trouble getting a victory in this one. Baylor

(13)Iowa State vs George Mason (5-4) – Sunday, 4:30 PM (ESPNU)

Voss: We all remember George Mason’s incredible NCAA tournament run in 2006, but this isn’t the George Mason of old. The Patriots currently sit at 5-4 and most recently suffered a 15 point loss in this one. This will be a respectable game, but the Cyclones should win with relative ease. Iowa State