Spread: Baylor -6
8pm Central – Frank Erwin Center, Austin, TX
#1 Baylor (21-1)
What else can you say about these Baylor Bears?! Winners of 20 straight games, I’m not sure if any team wants to step in front of this freight train. Their domination starts and ends on the defensive side of the ball. They are 4th nationally in adjusted defense. It has also surprised me how much margin Baylor is able to achieve despite how slow they play. Their average scoring margin is 13.5 points while playing 294th “fastest” tempo in college basketball. They get this margin from great defense and having a very efficient offense. Their style of play translates well on the road too. Baylor has played 6 true road games this year and they are 5-1 ATS in that stretch. Their only ATS loss was to Kansas St. where they failed to cover by 1 point.
One of my favorite questions every year is this… Is Texas Back? The short answer is no. Texas is 14-9 losing 5 out of their last 7. Also, their 2 wins in that stretch were by a margin of 5 combined points. Their main point of struggle is on the offensive side of the ball. They are 293rd in scoring, 291st in rebounding, 117th in FG %, and 296th in 3-point percentage. Their defense has been good but not great. Ken Pom has Texas 49th in adjusted defense. But I’m dubious of that ranking. Texas is 138th in opponent shooting % and 168th in opponent 3 point %.
I like Baylor in this one. First off they are a great road team going 5-1 ATS this year. KenPom has Baylor ranked as a 16 point better team than Texas. This is a power ranking disparity that I agree with. For this line to be correct. Texas would have to have a massive home court advantage. I don’t see that here. First of all the travel from Waco to Austin, TX shouldn’t tax Baylor all that much. Furthermore, Texas has not been great at home. Recently they have lost straight up at home to Texas Tech, LSU, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Baylor also excels at Texas’ biggest weakness… rebounding. Baylor is 4th in the country in offensive rebounding, whereas Texas is 292nd in defensive rebounding. I expect a lot of second chance points for Baylor and for them to keep Texas off the offensive glass. Baylor could win this by double digits. Take Baylor -6!