Top 25 action as Vanderbilt travels to Baylor after a string of blowout wins. Let's analyze this matchup with an eye towards the odds as we cash in our college basketball picks.
Vanderbilt (6-1 SU, 4-1 ATS)
The NCAA Basketball Odds makers knew Vanderbilt's last game was a mismatch but no one could have predicted just how lopsided it was. If you had any reservations about laying 19 ½ points with Vandy over Detroit on Wednesday night in your NCAA Basketball Picks then your fears were soon assuaged as the Commodores ended the first half up 27 points and ultimately eviscerated the Titans 102-52. Seven Commodores notched double figures on the scoreboard with Wade Baldwin IV leading all scorers bucketing 20 points. It was the first time since 2008 that Vanderbilt had at least six players in double figures and the first time since 2012 that they scored over 100 points. The win was tied for the fifth largest margin of victory in school history.
That thumping of Detroit not only added a notch in the win column but also boosted Vandy's stats. As they enter tonight's matchup in Texas the Commodores boast the 25th best scoring offense in the nation averaging 85.7 points per game. Defensively they have been suffocating the opposition allowing only 59.4 points per game good for 10th in the country while their rebounding has been excellent as well averaging 42.4 per game (39th). Wade Baldwin IV leads all Vanderbilt scorers while junior forward Luke Kornet is the man cleaning the glass averaging nearly seven per game.
Baylor Bears (5-1 SU, 0-2 ATS)
It is ironic to say the least that a team that has won five of their first six games with an average margin of victory of 31.8 points is actually 0-2 against the spread. Obviously the Bears are beating up all those weak little sisters from schools nobody has heard of yet the games are unlined which means no ATS credit. Baylor's lone loss came to the then 25th ranked Ducks 74-67 in Oregon. But since that lone loss the Bears have rolled big time but will not have it anywhere as easy tonight as they face a legitimate threat for the first time since they played Oregon on November 16th in their second game of the season.
The Bears play a team-oriented game and work the ball until they find an optimum shot. That selfless play has them averaging 22.2 assists per game which is 3rd in the nation. They are also sharpshooting their way to victory with a 85.8 scoring average which is nearly identical to their opponents tonight. Al Freeman, Jonathan Motley and Taurean Prince have been the scoring leaders on the team while senior forward Rico Gathers has been the most effective on the boards with 10 rebounds per game on average.
Statistically these teams look like mirror images of each other but the key is quality of their opponents. Granted neither team has been tested week in and week out but when faced with high caliber opponents the Bears bowed to Oregon while Vanderbilt caved to Kansas. However it is in fact Vandy that has defeated schools like St. Johns and Wake Forest during their winning streak and covered the number with ease on both occasions.
This is not a game to bury one side or the other as they are simply too closely matched. Although I am siding with the small road dog here it should be pointed out that the last time these teams met was last season and almost a year ago to the day when Baylor handed the home team Vanderbilt a 66-63 loss. However, we believe Vandy will avenge that loss and win this one outright but we will take the points just in case.
College Basketball Pick: Play Vanderbilt +2 at GTBets