Big 12 basketball picks: Conference predictions and more for January 3-5


Here are the predictions for all the Big 12 action opening this weekend from the entire Clones Confidential staff.

Dec 22, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears center Isaiah Austin (21) and Southern University Jaguars forward Damien Goodwin (1) go for a rebound during the first half at The Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Hilton Magic Community Call host and CC contributor, Brad LaFratte; staff writer and HMCC co-host, Brian Voss; and lead editor Brian Spaen all make predictions for all of this weekend’s Big 12 men’s basketball action, including the Iowa State women’s game at Oklahoma, and a couple of other top 25 games around the nation.

Central times listed, followed by TV, internet, or radio assignment of the game. All games are on Saturday unless noted. Rankings reflect latest Coaches poll. All times and assignments are subject to change.

Big 12 predictions

Savannah State (2-11) at (11)Baylor (12-1) – Friday, 7:00 PM, FSN

LaFratte: Scott Drew has often been criticized for not being about developing talent to its fullest potential. Of Drew’s top ten teams this one seems to have found consistency with it’s only loss being to now 2nd-ranked Syracuse. Baylor fans new what they were getting with Isaiah Austin and Corey Jefferson, but it has been the surprise play of guards Kenny Chery and Gary Franklin that have helped stabilize this team with the loss of Pierre Jackson to graduation.  Baylor will roll in this game and are a ligament threat to win the Big 12. Baylor

Dec 2, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Auburn Tigers guard Chris Denson (3) is defended by Iowa State Cyclones guard Matt Thomas (21) and guard Naz Long (15) at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

(12)Iowa State (12-0) at Texas Tech (8-5) – 12:45 PM, Big 12 Network (WOI)

Predictions by the entire staff coming in tonight’s preview.

(6)Oklahoma State (12-1) at Kansas State (10-3) – 3:00 PM, ESPNU

Voss: The Wildcats have won eight in a row after a tough start. The Cowboys will be short a couple players after backup point guard Stevie Clark was reportedly arrested for marijuana possession and center Michael Cobbins will be out for the season due to surgery on a ruptured left Achilles. What should be a good crowd at Bramlage Coliseum will help lead the Wildcats to victory. Kansas State

West Virginia (8-5) at TCU (9-3) – 3:00 PM, Big 12 Network (WOI)

LaFratte: Both teams heading into this game are much improved from a year ago.  With that being said, both have a long way to go. West Virginia’s talented guard Juwan Staten will be the difference maker on the offensive end for the Mountaineers in this game.  Staten is averaging 16.3 ppg which is nine points better than he averaged a season ago. Trent Johnson is a proven coach and will continue to build the TCU program. West Virginia

Oklahoma (11-2) at Texas (11-2) – 7:00 PM, Longhorn Network

Spaen: What has happened to Oklahoma’s defense since December 14th? Outside of beating a bad Texas A&M team 64-52, the Sooners have given up 91 points to Tulsa, 89 points to Texas-Arlington, and 102 points to Louisiana Tech (which resulted in a loss in overtime). The defense now ranks 312th overall in points given up per game (77.8) and 268th in rebounds (37). That’s not good considering Texas grabbing 43.4 boards per game and outrebounding 11 of their first 13 opponents. I like Texas in an eventual pull-away at home. Texas

Women’s: (14)Iowa State at (25)Oklahoma – 12:00 PM, Cyclone Radio Network

Voss: Two of Oklahoma’s losses are to teams currently ranked in the top 10. Bill Fennelly’s squad is undefeated and has won every game by double digits thus far. Cyclones win this game handily. Iowa State

LaFratte: This one is a tough call.  The Cyclones and Sooners have had many classic battles under the direction of Bill Fennelly and Sherri Coale, respectively.  I don’t see their games being any different this year.  Fenelly’s squad, like the Iowa State men’s team, finished the non-conference season undefeated and ranked 14th on the AP poll.

Comparing the two teams’ non-conference schedules I feel that Oklahoma has better prepared themselves for a game of this magnitude this early in conference season with games against 5th-ranked Louisville, 2nd-ranked Duke, and Marist. I expect a Cyclones team shooting well from downtown this season to take this game down to the wire. The difference will be unkindly bounces off the rim for the road team. Oklahoma

(19)San Diego State (11-1) at (17)Kansas (9-3) – Sunday, 3:30 PM, CBS

Spaen: Kansas has come into form since their rough early start to the season. They knocked off a previously undefeated Toledo at home on Monday night. The Aztecs pride themselves with their defense, giving up just 53.3 points per game. They dominated their last three layup opponents by allowing just 39 points or less, and they won their Mountain West opener against Colorado State 71-61. This could be one of the best defenses the Jayhawks have faced all year, but to just have three losses after such a daunting schedule is actually a positive for a young Kansas team. But the Aztecs won’t be phased in the Phog, and they’ll overcome any adversity with experience and better defense. San Diego State

Voss: A talented Kansas team has struggled at times this season and San Diego State has been very impressive at times on their way to an 11-1 record. I’m not sold on either of these teams being deserving of their ranking at this point in the season. Kansas wins a close game in this one.  Kansas

Notable top 25 predictions

Jan 2, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats center Kaleb Tarczewski (35) shoots the ball as he is defended by Washington State Cougars forward Brett Boese (33) during the second half at McKale Center. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati (12-2) at (18)Memphis (10-2) – 11:00 AM, ESPN2

LaFratte:  These two teams have contrasting styles of play. An offensive minded Memphis team features one the best back courts in the country in Michael Dixon Jr., Joe Jackson and Chris Crawford.  Cincinnati is known for the physical style of play on the defense end of the court holding many teams under their season scoring average. Most notable wins this season North Carolina State 68-57 (75.3 season avg.), Pittsburgh 44-43 (76.9 season avg.) and SMU 65-57 (73.5 season avg.).

The Bearcats are lead by senior guard Sean Kilpatrick. He could be a big factor in making this game come down to the final seconds before being decided. I wouldn’t be surprised if both of these teams challenge Louisville and UCONN for the American Conference championship. Memphis

Washington (9-5) at (1)Arizona (14-0) – 1:00 PM, Pac-12 Networks

Voss: Similar to Kansas State, Washington had a rough start losing three of its first five contests. Currently the Huskies sit at 9-5 and are coming off a solid victory over Arizona State. First ranked Arizona is undefeated, but has been tested in several close games this season. They are also playing at home. Wildcats win this game handily. Arizona