Big 12 college basketball predictions: Will Kansas pass tough UNLV test?


It’s the debut of our weekly Big 12 college basketball predictions. Conference play begins on Saturday and is already highlighted by one of many top 25 showdowns, but the most intriguing game could involve the conference’s lone undefeated team or Kansas hosting an interesting UNLV team.

To view the whole schedule with game times, TV assignments, and live streams, check out our Big 12 college basketball schedule for week eight here. Rankings reflect latest AP poll. All games will be on Saturday except UNLV-Kansas.

Kansas State 65, Oklahoma State 64

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The conference slate kicks off with two teams that desperately need a win. K-State had a tough non-conference schedule, but now has to play catch-up already registering six losses on the season. While OSU only has two losses, those came against teams that actually had a pulse — South Carolina and Maryland. The blowout at the hands of the Gamecocks is troubling.

Because it’s not hard to play in Stillwater, I’m going with my gut in thinking that the Wildcats are a better team and will pull out their first road win.

(11)Texas 74, Texas Tech 48

Both teams statistically are the better teams in the Big 12 as far as defense goes, but the Red Raiders have benefited from a light schedule. Their offense simply can’t match up physically to the Longhorns.

(18)Oklahoma 69, (22)Baylor 66

Our first top 25 showdown in conference action will be between the Sooners and Bears. Both teams are pretty similar as far as offense goes, but if OU wants to have one of the best backcourts in the nation, their assist average (13.3 per game — 151st nationally) must improve. Because this game’s in Norman, the edge goes to Oklahoma — they’ve dominated everybody in their home so far this season.

Dec 29, 2014; Fort Worth, TX, USA; TCU Horned Frogs head coach Trent Johnson (R) talks to guard Trey Zeigler (32) against the Tennessee State Tigers during the first half at University Recreation Center. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

(17)West Virginia 68, TCU 56

While most eyes will be on OU-Baylor, I have a real interest in this matchup — which could have easily been another top-25 affair. West Virginia looked real impressive throughout their decent non-conference slate, and the only blip was blowing a game to LSU at home that they really should have won.

How good are the Horned Frogs? Well, this is a damn good test for them, and all of us, to find out. I think they’re legit defensively and keep it close, but things will get away from them in the end.

(9)Iowa State at South Carolina — prediction coming on Friday.

UNLV 72, (13)Kansas 67

It’s a topic that many of us have been talking about in the early moments of the season — how good is Kansas? Statistically, their numbers are unimpressive and they look as beatable as ever. They don’t have that dominant star athlete that’s going to be a for-sure lottery pick like they’ve had in the past.Something just seems off about them.

The Runnin’ Rebels are inconsistent so far this season. They took down Arizona a few weeks ago, but haven’t fared well away from home losing to Wyoming and getting blown out by Arizona State and Stanford. Here’s an interesting nugget though — UNLV did defeat Temple, and the Owls blew away a hapless Jayhawks squad.

I’m going to go against my gut. The Runnin’ Rebels have a much better team defensively and I’ll give them the edge in a close battle throughout. However, Kansas can win a lot of people over again if they look impressive late Sunday afternoon.

Next: ISU at the top of latest Big 12 power rankings