College Basketball Pick
There are no breaks in the Big 12, that’s for certain. These are two middle-of-the-pack teams in the conference, but both come into this Game ranked in the Top 25. And both have hit a snag in the Schedule and have played some tough Games as of late. They only met a few weeks ago with Texas winning on the road 67-59.
Baylor would like to return the favor, but that may be difficult with the way the Bears are playing. They allowed a ridiculous 57.8% from the field in a recent home loss to Texas Tech, which is slightly unacceptable. However, they got a huge win Tuesday night over Iowa State in overtime.
The Longhorns won the first matchup by playing great team ball, assisting 21 times on 21 made field goals. Texas had Baylor’s number in that aspect as the Bears only shot 35.2% from the field and that was the Game. The Longhorns’ bench also outscored Baylor’s 20-7.
Baylor simply isn’t getting enough production from its guards at the moment on both ends of the cOurt. That starts with point guard Lester Medford, who’s only averaging 9.4 points per Game on the year. He’s not a great scorer and that’s seen in his percentages. If your point guard can’t ever shoot above 40%, you’ll often run into trouble and that’s what’s going on with Baylor. It also doesn’t help that Ishmail Wainright is offensively challenged and the guys off the bench can’t really do much. Al Freeman is one guy that Baylor can ride on the perimeter, but he’s extremely inconsistent.
As usual for this Game, the Bears will turn to the frontcOurt with Rico Gathers, Taurean Prince and Johnathan Motley off the bench. Gathers and Prince combined for 38 points and 15 boards in the first meeting, but Gathers fouled out and only played 28 minutes. Even if those guys put in similar Games, Baylor will still need more production from its guards.
As for Texas, the offense is a little more spread out. That starts with point guard Isaiah Taylor, who’s averaging 15.2 points per Game on the year and playing much smarter basketball than a year ago. Fellow guard Javan Felix is also a guy that can Scoreplenty and create for himself. Connor LAmmert spreads the floor as a stretch-4, much like Taurean Prince, while Prince Ibeh gives them a big body down low. The absence of big man Cameron Ridley hasn’t been a huge factor, as Shaka Smart can go fairly deep on his bench, often playing 10 guys.
Baylor has some issues at the moment and considering they recently lost to this Texas team at home, there aren’t many signs that point to a win for the Bears. Then again, the Bears actually have a winning record in Big 12 road Games. As for Texas, they still haven’t lost at home in Conference play after a huge win over West Virginia on Tuesday.
The Longhorns are playing well and are at home. It’ll take a big effort from the Bears to win this one, and it’s hard to see them having enough to do it.
Prediction – Texas 80 Baylor 69