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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Around the Country: Big games in the Big 12

Photo by Ishika Samant
Houston F Ja’Vier Francis (5) pops up for the ball during Texas A&M’s game against Houston on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

No. 6 Kansas at No. 25 Oklahoma

Saturday, Feb. 17 — Lloyd Noble Center — Norman, Oklahoma

3 p.m. on ESPN

The Jayhawks will look to fend off their road woes in a rematch with the Sooners this Saturday.

Kansas got the better of Oklahoma the last time the two faced off, 78-66. In that game, senior center Hunter Dickinson exploded for a double-double with 24 points and 14 rebounds. The Jayhawks also had two other double-digit scorers in graduate G Kevin McCullar Jr. and junior F KJ Adams Jr., who scored 21 and 15 points, respectively.

On the other hand, the Sooners have fallen off since the last matchup. Last time out versus Kansas, they were ranked No. 9, but have since dropped four games, with their most recent loss coming away to No. 12 Baylor on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

It may seem like Kansas should have the upper hand on Oklahoma in the rematch, but the Jayhawks have struggled in true road games this season — especially in conference.

All of Kansas’ losses in conference play have come on the road this year. It has lost its last four road games, and has only won one in five road games in Big 12 play so far. This includes some bad losses to UCF and West Virginia, who sit in the bottom three of the conference.

Despite Kansas’ road problems, the Sooners haven’t been invincible at home. Expect coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks’ stars to find a way to grab a second road win in conference play and keep their No. 1 seed hopes alive — but it’ll be close.

Prediction: Kansas 78, Oklahoma 72

No. 20 Florida Atlantic at South Florida

Sunday, Feb. 18 — Yuengling Center — Tampa, Florida

11 a.m. on ESPN

It’s the battle of South Florida versus the team that is actually in South Florida for supremacy in the American Athletic Conference.

The Bulls have been the surprise of the year in the AAC. Picked to finish ninth by the league’s coaches in their preseason poll, USF sits at 11-1 in conference play and 18-5 overall with a 10-game win streak to boot.

They’ll host No. 20 FAU as the Owls look to improve their resume ahead of Selection Sunday. The Owls made the Final Four as a 9-seed last season, but with a Quad 3 and Quad 4 loss on their record, FAU might not get the seed-line that its AP Poll rank shows.

The difference this year? The Owls aren’t flying under the radar anymore. That honor goes to the Bulls and their balanced scoring attack. South Florida doesn’t have a star that’s averaging over 15 points per game, but they have three in double figures and a fourth averaging nearly 9 points.

First-year coach Amir Abdur-Rahim has Tampa fired up for his Bulls, and having the home crowd behind them will be the difference-maker this time.

Prediction: South Florida 96, Florida Atlantic 93 (OT)

No. 10 Iowa State at No. 3 Houston

Monday, Feb. 19 — Fertitta Center — Houston

6 p.m. on ESPNU

A heavyweight bout awaits for college basketball-ians between No. 10 Iowa State and No. 3 Houston.

For all those enthused about getting stops and playing hard, this rematch is for y’all. The Cougars boast (and have played) as the No. 1 team in the country in opposing points allowed while the Cyclones are just behind them, sitting at No. 7.

The two have already matched up once this season with the Cyclones pulling off an upset at home, 57-53, behind freshman forward Milan Momcilovic and sophomore guard Tamin Lipsey. In the game, Houston shot 19-of-50 from the field and Iowa State fared just a hair better with 18-of-47.

Each team doesn’t have a clear-cut star as the Cyclones have four players scoring above 10 points a game while the Cougars have three. No one averages more than 15 and yet they both sit in the top 10.

With yet another defensive masterclass in the brewing, the Cougars will come out on top this time to continue their win streak and put a stop to the Cyclones.

Prediction: Houston 60, Iowa State 52

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About the Contributors
Eli Meschko
Eli Meschko, Sports Writer
Eli Meschko is a journalism senior from Boerne, Texas, and is minoring in communication and sports management. Eli has covered football, men's basketball, baseball, softball, hockey and track & field. Eli also writes for Dave Campbell's Texas Football as an intern. After graduation, Eli plans on pursuing a career in sports media or public relations.
Ian Curtis
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter
Ian Curtis is a journalism freshman from College Station, Texas. Ian has written about football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, hockey, gymnastics, volleyball and more for The Battalion. Ian's work has also appeared in The Bryan-College Station Eagle and over the airwaves on WTAW and 
Justin Chen
Justin Chen, Sports Writer
Justin Chen is a journalism senior minoring in sport management and communication. Justin has covered football, men's basketball, volleyball, baseball and swim & dive. Justin also writes feature NBA pieces and covered the Miami Heat for Sir Charles In Charge. When not writing, he likes to frequent the gym, support Arsenal and watch anime.
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