The no. 2 Baylor Bears put their undefeated record on the line Tuesday night in their most challenging game of the season against the no. 6 Texas Longhorns. On the road, the Bears are favored by six points, with the over/under for the game set at 144.5 points.
The Longhorns were the only Big 12 team that was not in action over the weekend, as their game with Kentucky was canceled. Thanks to two other games that were postponed, this will be just the second time Texas has played taken the floor since January 16. The team’s only game during that time was an 80-79 loss to Oklahoma in which the Longhorns only had eight players available.
Meanwhile, the Bears remained perfect after a 12-point win over Auburn in the Big 12-SEC Challenge over the weekend. Baylor is 16-0 and 8-0 inside the Big 12, giving them a 2.5-game lead over second-place Texas. Of course, five of Baylor’s five remaining games are against teams that are currently ranked, so the conference title is not secure yet.
Where to Begin
The Bears have looked every bit as good as their record indicates. There is no obvious weakness on Baylor’s roster. They have four players who average double figures and six players who average at least eight points per game. The Bears also have two players in Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell, who average more than five assists per game. As a team, they are shooting over 43% from three-point range.
At this point, complacency could be Baylor’s only weakness. Against Auburn, the Bears looked to be sleepwalking through parts of the first half. But when they decided to put forth 100% effort, the Bears were several levels above Auburn, which has been a recurring theme this season. In fact, Baylor can dominate teams at both ends, scoring over 87 points per game but conceding just 62 points per game.
With head coach Shake Smart and several players missing time due to COVID-19, the Longhorns might need a little time to adjust to being back at full strength. Obviously, getting Smart and some players back is a good thing, although the Longhorns will be under pressure to hit the ground running if they expect to keep pace with Baylor.
In fairness, the Texas backcourt trio of Andrew Jones, Courtney Ramey, and Matt Coleman might be the best Baylor has faced this season. All three are averaging at least 13 points per game and pose a threat shooting from the perimeter. The trio of Jones, Ramey, and Coleman does a great job of sharing the ball, which allows Texas to survive if one of them has an off night. However, the real litmus test for Texas could be the play of young but inconsistent forwards Greg Brown and Kai Jones.
Don’t Start Now
Texas poses a tough test for Baylor, but the Longhorns barely playing over the past two weeks will be their downfall. Texas will need to be almost perfect to win, which isn’t likely given the circumstances. Plus, Baylor is not only 16-0, but the Bears are also 12-4 against the spread. Bet on Baylor to win and cover on Tuesday night.
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