Bounce-Back Spot for Baylor vs Texas

Rainman M.

Saturday, January 6, 2018 3:23 PM UTC

Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 3:23 PM UTC

Baylor (10-4) hosts Texas (10-4) today at 2 ET. The Bears are favored by three. Can they end their two game non-cover skid?

Texas Longhorns vs Baylor Bears

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Free NCAAB Pick: Baylor -3
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

The new-look Longhorns rank 337th in experience.

Last year, Texas was desperate for a point guard, having to deploy players at the position who were more suited to be either shooting guard or small forward. Freshman Matt Coleman has struggled at the position, ranking 5th on the team in points per game. But because Coleman leads Texas in minutes and plays point guard, Kerwin Roach is able to play at small forward. Roach underachieved at point guard last season, completing only 44.2% inside the arc. This season, he ranks 16th with 72.3% completion from two.

Roach doesn’t lead the team in points because of his subpar free throw and three-point shooting and because he doesn’t shoot often. Power forward Dylan Osetkowski leads Texas with 15.5 points per game. His size and strength inside allow him to rebound effectively and achieve second-chance and post-scoring. He is second on the team with 7.9 rebounds per game. The freshman center Mohamed Bamba leads the team with 10.7 rebounds per game. Bamba ranks in the top-120 in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. He is also an efficient scorer inside, ranking 359th in two-point completion. He is also dominant on defense, ranking 5th in block percentage.

Baylor’s first- and third-leading scorers from last season departed, including the nation’s top power forward.

Senior point guard Manu Lecomte leads Baylor with 33.4 minutes and 16.8 points per game. His improved ball security is a major reason for Baylor improving from 308th to 153rd in turnover percentage allowed.

Most of Baylor’s production comes from its big men. Baylor has the 54th-highest point distribution from two. Small forwards Mark Vital and Nuni Umot and power forward Tristan Clark rank in the top-300 in two-point completion percentage. Baylor’s biggest shot-taker is center Jo Lual-Acuil. He is second on the team with 16.1 points per game. He is able to achieve second-chance baskets because he leads Baylor with 10.1 rebounds per game. He is one of four Bears who help control the interior and rank in the top-400 in block percentage, the three others being Vital, Clark and guard Jake Lindsey.

The Verdict

Today is a crucial bounce-back spot for Baylor. The Bears haven’t lost three in a row under Scott Drew since 2014. Today presents a favorable match-up for them. In 3 of 4 of their non-covers, they allowed 40% or worse from three. Texas ranks 337th with 29.2% three-point completion. Baylor likes to play some zone and should emphasize it in order to challenge Texas to make shots. One Longhorn averages more than 30.5% from three, Andrew Jones, who is battling an identified, difficult illness. Texas will want to distribute the ball to its bigs, but will struggle with Baylor’s height. Four of Texas’s six non-covers came against teams who rank in the top-50 in Height: Baylor ranks 36th. A bonus for Baylor down the stretch is that Texas is one of the nation’s worst free-throw shooting teams, ranking 327th in the category. Baylor ranks 132nd.

Baylor’s defense will be the key to extending its four-game cover streak against Texas on our NCAAB Picks.

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