Baylor at Texas Picks and College Basketball Odds
by Alan Matthews - 3/4/2013
Two of the Big 12's and nation's most disappointing teams meet on Big Monday this week as Baylor faces Texas, with both schools needing a Big 12 Tournament Championship to reach the Big Dance. UT has one of the nation's longest NCAA Tournament streaks at 14 consecutive years, but that seems a near lock to end.
Plenty was expected of Scott Drew's Baylor club this year after reaching the Elite Eight a season ago, losing to eventual National Champion Kentucky in that round. Yes, the Bears lost three of their best players off that club in Perry Jones III, Quincy Acy and Quincy Miller, but Drew welcomed back one of the nation's top guards in Pierre Jackson and a terrific recruiting class lead by 7-foot-1 center Isaiah Austin, who probably will be one-and-done in Waco. Jackson has done his part. He leads the Big 12 in scoring (19.0) and assists (6.4) and is on pace to become the first player from a BCS conference to lead his conference in scoring and assists since Arizona's Jason Terry in 1998-99.
Texas' season essentially went in the toilet when the NCAA ruled Horns star guard Myck Kabongo ineligible for receiving improper benefits. Originally, the sophomore was ruled out for the season, but the school appealed, and it was reduced to a 23-game suspension. Texas had self-imposed a 10-game penalty on Kabongo, who averaged 9.6 points and 5.2 assists as a freshman. The Longhorns were 10-13 without Kabongo and are 3-3 with him.
Baylor at Texas Betting Story Lines
The Bears (17-12, 8-8) enter off a crushing 64-61 home loss to Kansas State on Saturday as Wildcats star Rodney McGruder hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. KSU had missed a shot with a second left but got a second chance when, on the ensuing possession, a length-of-the-court inbounds pass from Baylor's Jacob Neubert sailed out of bounds without being touched. That gave KSU possession under its basket and then McGruder's winning shot. An upset would have vastly helped Baylor's at-large NCAA hopes, but now it almost assuredly must win the Big 12 Tournament even with a victory in this game and to close the regular season against Kansas. The Bears have lost four of five and seven of 10.
Texas (13-16, 5-11) has alternated wins and losses since Kabongo's return. It lost 78-65 at No. 15 Oklahoma State on Saturday. Kabongo had his lowest-scoring game thus far with seven points and a career-high seven turnovers. OSU was double-teaming Kabongo at every opportunity in a half-court trap. For some reason, UT coach Rick Barnes played Horns second-leading scorer Sheldon McClellan only seven minutes, and he didn't score. McClellan had a combined 33 points in the previous two games but has been in and out of Barnes' doghouse all season. One bright spot Saturday was the return of sophomore guard Julien Lewis after missing a game with a concussion. He had a team-high 15 points.
These two teams met Jan. 5 in Waco, with Baylor winning 86-79 in overtime in the teams' Big 12 opener. Cory Jefferson and Jackson combined for 49 points for the Bears, with Jefferson hitting the tiebreaking free throws with 50 seconds left in overtime. That duo scored 17 of Baylor's 18 points in the extra session. Baylor was without Drew in that game as he served the first of a two-game suspension for offseason recruiting violations.
Baylor at Texas College Basketball Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, Baylor is listed as a one-point favorite with the total t 138.5. The Bears are 11-13 ATS (6-4 on road) and 12-11 “over/under” (5-5 on road). The Horns are 14-11-1 ATS (7-6 at home) and 12-11 O/U (6-4 at home).
Baylor is 4-1 ATS in its past five Monday games but 1-4 ATS in its past five overall. Texas is 7-1 ATS in its past eight after a loss. It has covered five of its past seven at home. The over is 12-5 in Baylor's past 17 road games. The over is 4-0 in UT's past four at home and past four overall. Baylor has covered the past four in Texas. The over has hit in seven of the past nine meetings.
Baylor at Texas Picks and Betting Predictions
Baylor has been lousy on the road with a 4-6 mark and in close games, going 1-7 in those decided by five or fewer points (largely due to poor free-throw shooting). However, the Bears have run roughshod over all their in-state rivals, winning 17 straight against Lone Star State foes. It has won seven of the past nine in this series. Before that, Texas had won 24 straight against Baylor.
Keep an eye on the score at intermission. Baylor has won 18 of 19 and 39 of its last 40 games when leading at the half. The Bears are clearly the more talented team, but they have really laid an egg in some road games this season, and it's UT's final home game of the season. The Horns have beaten good teams Iowa State and Oklahoma in Austin since Kabongo's return. They add another upset here. Also take the over.
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