Sure, Texas and Kansas State have been struggling lately, but there's plenty on the line Saturday. The Wildcats (9-17, 2-11 Big 12) are already out of the NCAA Tournament conversation and the Longhorns' NCAA Tournament chances dwindled after their rough start to February.
Texas (15-11, 5-8 Big 12) ran into a Big 12 buzzsaw early this month, facing -- and losing to -- No. 3 Kansas and No. 1 Baylor in the same week. It also fell to Iowa State and Texas Tech over what was then a four-game skid. A 70-56 home victory over TCU Wednesday put the Longhorns back on track, with a reeling Kansas State squad on deck. History is on the Wildcats' side, though: They're 5-2 over the last seven vs. Texas.With a win, Texas could find itself back into Jerry Palm's bubble.
- When: Saturday, 2 p.m. ET
- Where: Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas
- TV: CBS | Connected TV: CBS All-Access
- Live stream: CBSSports.com | Mobile: CBS Sports App
Texas: Wednesday's win vs. TCU did more than break the Longhorns' losing streak; it also showcased freshman center Will Baker. Playing a season-high 26 minutes, Baker scored 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range. Baker played a then season-high 16 minutes against Iowa State the game prior, so he's clearly playing his way into Texas' rotation down the stretch. Pair an emerging Baker with Matt Coleman, who could return Saturday, and Texas is capable of returning to its promising early-season form.
Kansas State: If Texas thought its February was going poorly, it should look at Kansas State's. The Wildcats are winless this month, dropping six straight after a solid victory vs. Oklahoma on Jan. 29. Xavier Sneed is coming off consecutive 15-point games after having uncharacteristic single-digit scoring performances against Oklahoma State and Iowa State. K-State is an abysmal 0-7 on the road against conference foes, but it's been better in Manhattan (2-4). Texas already defeated Kansas State 64-50 in January.
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Game prediction, pick
Latest odds via SportsLine: Kansas State -4
A breakout game for freshman big man Will Baker in Wednesday night's win against TCU comes right as Shaka Smart and the Longhorns are in backs-against-the-wall mode here in the final third of the conference schedule. Texas has dealt with injuries throughout the season, most recently losing starting forward Jericho Sims for an indefinite amount of time with a back issue, and while NCAA Tournament chances are slim this is a team that Jerry Palm had listed as one of the first four out less than two weeks ago. The NCAA Tournament profile needs quality wins more than quantity, but I think the urgency of this point in the season -- and this point in Smart's tenure as Texas' coach -- powers a strong performance that leads to a win in the Octagon of Doom. Pick: Texas +4 (Chip Patterson)