|-4.5 BAY (-110) @ williamhill|
My 10* "Best of the Best" (Big 12) is on Baylor at 4:00 ET.
FIVE of the Big 12's 10 teams rank among the top-15 in the latest Associated Press poll, including THREE in the top six. No. 4 Texas and No. 15 Texas Tech met Wednesday night in Austin. Texas scored 48 points in the first half (10-point lead) against a team allowing just 58.0 PPG but while the Longhorns led almost the entire game, Tech's Mac McClung made a long jumper with THREE seconds left to give No. 15 Texas Tech a 79-77 win, ending the Longhorns' 4-0 start in the Big 12. Tech returns home to Lubbock on Saturday but "there's no rest for the weary," as No. 2 Baylor comes to town with its 11-0 record (9-2 ATS). Fresh off its first road victory against a top-five opponent in program history, Texas Tech now hosts Baylor, a contest marking the first game between the two schools in which BOTH are ranked in the top-15.
Baylor's Scott Drew took over a devastated Baylor program in the 2003-04 season and since 2007-08, has turned the Bears into one of the better programs in the country. Baylor won the NIT in 2013 and has made eight NCAA tourney appearances (26-4 last season would have made nine). Baylor lost 6-9 center Gillespie (9.6 & 9.0) but Tchatchoua is a 6-8 transfer from UNLV and he's averaged 9.0 & 7.2. The 6-5 Vital plays like a power forward, averaging 5.2 & 5.3 and is considered one of the best defensive players in the nation. The strength of Baylor's team is centered around its four guards, all scoring in double digits. Butler's (16.4-3.5-5.4) the best of the group but don't look past Teague (15.6 & 4.2), Mitchell (11.5 & 6.5 APG) or Flagler (10.1).The Bears (11-0, 4-0 Big 12) have been off for several days after their game against No. 13 West Virginia was postponed because of COVID-19 concerns in the Mountaineers' program. Baylor's last outing was Jan 9, when the Bears throttled TCU 67-49 in Fort Worth, for its fourth league win by double digits!
Chris Beard went 30-5 at Arkansas St in 2015-16 and was able to to land the Texas Tech job as a reward. In his second season, the Red Raiders won 27 games and made the Elite 8 and then followed that up by winning 31 games in the 2018-19 season, where they lost to UVa in the national championship game. Last year's 18-13 season was seen as a major slump but Tech opened at No. 14 in the AP preseason poll. Georgetown transfer McClung (15.8) leads Tech in scoring and is joined in the starting lineup by guards Edwards (10.4 & 5.4) and freshman Peavy (5.9). The 6-7 Santos-Silva (8.9 & 6.0) is Tech's tallest starter, although the 6-6 Shannon (13.6 & 5.0, who comes off the bench, and 6-6 starter McCullar (11.4 & 6.6) are bigger producers. The Red Raiders' calling card remains defense, allowing 59.4 PPG (9th) on 39.2% shooting (36th).
However, here's the rub. Baylor KNOWS more than a little about playing defense too, holding opponents to 61.2 PPG (29th). On the offensive end, Baylor is averaging 89.0 PPG (5th), which is about two 'TDs' more than Texas Tech (75.8 PPG), while shooting 50.9% (14th), including 42.3% on threes (3rd). Maybe Baylor will get tripped up somewhere in its 'travels' through the Big 12 but NOT here, as after 'escaping' at Austin, the Red Raiders will fail here at home to the Bears.