Baylor Bears vs. Texas Longhorns Preview and Pick

Baylor Bears (16-3) +7.5, N/A O/U at Texas Longhorns (16-4) -7.5, N/
A O/U, Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas, 1:45 PM Eastern, Saturday

by Badger of

The No. 25-ranked Baylor Bears will try to do something they havent
done in 10 years on Saturday beat the No. 10-ranked Texas
Longhorns. The Bears will try and end a 20-game drought when they
travel to take on the Longhorns at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.

This just might be the year the Bears do it though. For the first
time in 39 years the Bears are ranked in the AP Top 25, and are off
to one of the best starts in school history since the early 1940s.
The Bears are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Oklahoma, 77-71,
last weekend and have a full week to prepare for this game. The loss
was their first in Big 12 play, and prior to that they won six
straight including an inspiring 116-110 victory over Texas A&M in
five overtimes.

Texas is also coming off a bad loss. Make that a really bad loss, as
they shot just 34 percent from the floor in a lopsided 80-63 loss to
Texas A&M. The stinker at A&M came on the heels of a three game
winning streak (wins over Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Colorado),
but the Longhorns have struggled lately since starting the season off
with an 11-0 record.

Vegas opened this game with Texas as a 7.5-point favorite. As of
press time, there is no total and no moneyline bets listed on this game.

Baylor has perhaps the most balanced offensive attack in the Big 12,
as five players all average in double figures in scoring. Guard
Curtis Jerrells, ironically an Austin native, is tops on the team
with a 14.4 points per game average, but forward Kevin Rogers (13
pts., 16 reb. vs. Oklahoma) and guards Henry Dugat (12.1 ppg),
LaceDarius Dunn (11.7 ppg) and Aaron Bruce (11.1 ppg) are equally
good at scoring and they all shoot 43 percent or better from the floor.

The Bears average 81.2 points per game for the season, in part
because they shoot nearly 40 percent from behind the 3-point arc
(39.3). They have lowered their scoring output since entering Big 12
play though, as they have yet to crack the 80-point barrier (taking
out the 5 OT game vs. A&M).

Last time out nothing seemed to go right for the Longhorn offense.
They bricked they way through the game and didnt even approach their
78 points per game average. Normally a solid 3-point shooting team
(39 percent), the Horns were just 8-of-26 from behind the arc and
even worse from the free throw line (10-of-21).

Texas does have one of the best guard trios in the country in D.J.
Augustin, A.J. Abrams and Damion James. Augustin averages 20.4 points
per game and 5.8 assists, Abrams scores 17.2 per game, and James
scores 13.2 and adds 10.6 rebounds per contest to give the Longhorns
a very guard-heavy presence on the floor.

Defensively Baylor is a work in progress. Their 69.4 average points
allowed per game is usually good enough, but it should be put to the
test versus the Longhorns gunning style of offense. Texas scored 63
points last time out despite just 34 percent accuracy, so the Bears
will have to exert energy on defense to try and keep them under 70 in
this game.

The normally strong Texas defense was embarrassed last time out
versus A&M allowing the Aggies to shoot a nearly unheard of 56
percent from the floor, a full 16 percentage points better than their
season average of 40.3 percent. With the way the Bears can shoot the
rock, Texas will have to tighten things up if they hope to contain
them and hold them near their 65.0 points allowed per game average.

Three of the Longhorns 20 straight wins over the Bears came last
season, when they swept the season series then eliminated them in the
Big 12 Tournament. The Bears covered in all three of those games
though, and have covered the spread in four of the last five meetings
between the two.

On the season, Baylor is 7-4 ATS including a perfect 5-0 ATS record
on the road this season. The over is a strong betting trend in Baylor
game lately, coming in over the total in five straight games and six
of their last eight games as road underdogs.

Despite the strong straight up record, Texas is a weak 7-8 ATS so far this year. In fact, the Horns have failed to cover in four of their
last five overall, and in seven of their last nine games.

Badgers Pick: Baylor has been waiting for this game for a long time, plus theyve had a full week to prepare for it as well. That,
combined with the fact that they are a strong road team (against the
spread) and Texas has had its struggles lately covering, makes me
lean to the side of the Bears. Take Baylor plus the points.