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February 8, 2008

Kansas, Texas set for marquee matchup

MORE BREAKDOWNS: ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

Texas A&M at Missouri
Oklahoma at Colorado
Texas at Iowa State
Texas Tech at Nebraska
Oklahoma State at Kansas State
Baylor at Kansas
Kansas at Texas
Baylor at Oklahoma State
Iowa State at Oklahoma
Kansas State at Texas Tech
Missouri at Nebraska

Best matchup: Kansas at Texas. The Longhorns (18-4 overall, 5-2 in the Big 12) get another crack at Kansas (22-1, 7-1) after losing both games to the Jayhawks by four points last season. The only matchup between the Longhorns and the Jayhawks this season will boast as much star power as any game in the Big 12 with Texas' D.J. Augustin, A.J. Abrams and Damion James taking on Kansas' Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur.

The pressure is on: Texas Tech coach Pat Knight. Bob Knight said it was a perfect time for his son to take over as Texas Tech's coach, but perhaps he didn't look at the schedule. Pat Knight's tenure started with an 80-74 loss at Baylor, and there are contests against four nationally ranked opponents (Kansas State and Texas in Lubbock, Texas A&M and Kansas on the road) in the last nine games. An NIT berth may be a challenge for the Red Raiders (12-9, 3-4).

Upset alert: Texas Tech over Kansas State. The Wildcats already have shown themselves capable of losing on the road to an inferior opponent by falling 77-74 to undermanned Missouri. When Kansas State goes to Lubbock, Texas Tech will be in its third game and first at home since the coaching change. The Red Raiders are 3-0 at home against Big 12 opponents and 10-1 overall. The return home and a return to normalcy could help Texas Tech overcome Kansas State's talented freshmen.

RPI watch: Monday's game between Kansas and Texas could have seeding implications for the NCAA Tournament. The No. 5 Jayhawks and No. 11 Longhorns are the two highest-ranked teams in the RPI from the Big 12. No. 25 Texas A&M and No. 26 Kansas State also are in the RPI Top 30.

Key stat I: When Kansas State freshman Michael Beasley went 15 of 21 from the floor against Nebraska, it was the sixth time this season he attempted at least 20 shots from the field. In those six games (against Sacramento State, George Mason, Notre Dame, Winston-Salem State, Iowa State and the Huskers), Beasley has shot 62.1 percent from the floor and averaged 31.5 points.

Freshman to watch: Texas Tech forward Mike Singletary has averaged 15.7 points in the past three games, including 20 in a loss to Baylor on Wednesday.

Who's hot: Baylor has shot better than 75 percent from the line in eight of the past nine games. The Bears were 32 of 40 (80 percent) Wednesday against Texas Tech. Missouri guard Keon Lawrence is 15-for-19 from the floor over the last two games. He scored 25 points at Kansas on Monday. Kansas center Sasha Kaun has scored 12 points in each of the past two games after averaging 7.2 points going into the week. Excluding a 116-110 loss to Baylor in five overtimes, Texas A&M is allowing 62.9 points per game in Big 12 play. That figure would lead the league (ahead of Kansas' 63.1). Only Texas has topped 60 points against the Aggies since the Baylor game.

Who's not: Oklahoma's bench has scored only six points in the past two games, both losses. The Sooners' subs didn't score at all in a 64-54 loss to Texas on Wednesday. Missouri went 5-for-38 from 3-point range in two games against Kansas this year. The Tigers missed all 10 attempts from behind the line in a 90-71 loss Monday. Colorado has lost seven of its past eight games.

Worth noting: Oklahoma center Longar Longar is out indefinitely with a broken bone in his right leg. He injured the leg Wednesday in a 64-54 loss to Texas. He could miss the rest of the season. Missouri reinstated Leo Lyons and Marshall Brown from suspensions before the upset of Kansas State on Saturday. The Tigers also reinstated Darryl Butterfield and Jason Horton after each missed two games. Leading scorer Stefhon Hannah is the only Tiger still suspended for a violation of team rules. A 64-63 win against last-place Colorado on Wednesday snapped a six-game losing streak for Oklahoma State. Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik benched guard Xavier Silas in a 72-59 loss to Kansas last week. Silas returned for the loss to Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State's Kyle Keller left his post as a full-time assistant because of his wife's illness. Mike Hatch, formerly the Cowboys' director of student-athlete development, will take Keller's role.

MORE BREAKDOWNS: ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dfox@rivals.com.

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