Baylor Bears +8 (17-11) 7-12 ATS, 7-11 O/U at No. 25 Texas Longhorns -8 (19-9) 10-15 ATS, 11-14 O/U Monday, March 2, 2009 Austin, Texas, Frank Erwin Center (16,755) 9:00 p.m. EST TV: ESPN (Big Monday) National Audience
By Wilson of Predictem.com
The Texas Longhorns will host the Baylor Bears tonight in Austin as they go for their 20th win of the season. It is also Senior Night for the Longhorns as they say farewell to guard A.J. Abrams and center/forward Connor Atchley. Baylor will be attempting to accomplish something they havent done in 23 consecutive games versus Texas- win! For Baylor to beat Texas on national television especially on ESPNs Big Monday would be quite the publicity stunt.
The Longhorns come into tonights matchup with a 4-6 ATS and a 6-9 O/U record at home. However, Texas is just 1-8 ATS in their last nine games. Texas has gone under the total in the five games as well.
Texas will be looking to overcome a tough loss as they dropped their last game to Oklahoma State 68-59. The Longhorns shot a dismal 31 percent from the field against the Cowboys and were 14 points below their total scoring average of 73 ppg. Texas is 8-6 in the Big 12 and they lead the series with Baylor at 154-75. The last time these two teams played was January 27, 2009 when Texas earned the win 78-72 in Waco.
The Longhorns have plenty of weapons but perhaps the most deadly on offense and defense is the play of Damion James as he enters tonights game with a team best 14 double-doubles. James is averaging 18.2 ppg and 12.8 rebounds. The Longhorns are 3-2 in their last five games and will certainly be fired up for Senior Night and a chance to earn win number 20.
Baylor has every right to win this game as they fell only by 6 points in the last head to head battle with the Horns. The Bears are 2-3 in their last five games and are recently coming off of a win over Colorado 75-57. The Bears shot an impressive 52 percent from the field while going 80 percent from the charity stripe against the Buffalos. If the Bears can duplicate those numbers they will be in great shape tonight in Austin.
The Bears are led by senior Curtis Jerrells who averages 16.4 ppg followed by sophomore LaceDarius Dunn who contributes another 15 ppg. Baylor has 3 of the top 7 3-point shooters in school history on the current squad in Curtis Jerrells, Henry Dugat, and LaceDarius Dunn. The Bears average 78.7 ppg and give up 71.3 to their opponents. They are 5-9 in Big 12 play but look forward to getting their sixth conference win tonight albeit a tall order.
Defensively, Texas holds a slight edge as they only allow 65.4 ppg to the opposition while both teams have quality speed and decent perimeter defenders it may be the inside play of Texas that gets the job done, particularly behind the play of Damion James as he creates problems for most teams by dominating the paint and the glass. However, in the first meeting this season the Bears did manage to hold Texas scoreless for 5:51 in the first half but the question is, can they do that again late in the game on the road, on Senior Night? Im sure the Longhorns were a big part of the scoreless period but Baylor has the potential to deny the ball at times and thats what theyll need to do tonight especially with the bigs of Texas. The key for Baylor in this game will be rotation and help defense and of course they will need to knock down some shots. Texas is 60-5 in games at the Erwin Center and they will be ready to send their seniors out in style.
Wilsons Pick: Texas wins and covers the points. Longhorns 79, Bears 70. Luck to ya.