Coming off a tough game at Kansas on Saturday, the Baylor Bears hit the road again Tuesday night with a college basketball odds matchup at the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
By all accounts, the Baylor Bears are a lock for this year's NCAA Basketball Tournament. Scott's Drew's bunch is sitting pretty at No. 14 in the latest RPI, Ken Pomeroy has them even higher at No. 11, and Little Joe Lunardi over at ESPN is currently listing the Bears as a No. 5 seed.
Still, they've picked a bad time of the season to fall into a rut with consecutive losses their last two times to the floor, and while the panic button hasn't been hit yet, that very well could change if Baylor comes home from Lubbock with anything but a resounding victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Tuesday.
Tip-off on the Texas Tech campus is a little past 7 PM (ET) with ESPN2 providing the pictures. Baylor started at -10 officially on the NCAA basketball odds following that spread down to -9 overnight.
This is the first of two meetings between the old rivals who date their series to before the old Southwest Conference days. Baylor and Texas Tech split their matchups a year ago, each posting a home win and cover. The Red Raiders have a 76-52 lead over the Bears all-time, but had lost four straight in the series before upsetting Baylor in Lubbock about 13 months ago, 82-72, as 4½ point underdogs.
Red Raiders Only Patsy Left On Bears' Slate
Baylor (18-7 straight up, 10-9 against the spread) just endured a 3-game stretch against ranked clubs, winning only the first tilt at West Virginia before dropping battles at home to Oklahoma State and at Kansas this past Saturday. The Bears were 6 point underdogs in the outstanding performance at the Mountaineers, but couldn't match that in the setback against the Cowboys as 6 point chalk on the NCAA basketball odds.
Everything started well for Baylor in Lawrence a few days ago, the Bears building a 13-point lead during the first half and beating the Jayhawks mercilessly on the boards. Kansas never had the lead until nearly three minutes into the second stanza, and closed the books with a 17-9 run in the final five minutes to have a little spare on the -7.5 point spread.
Tuesday's tussle with the Red Raiders represents the last easy one on Baylor's regular season slate until the Bears host Tech in the final game for both clubs. They still have two ranked teams on the fixture, Iowa State and West Virginia, plus Kansas State in Waco this Saturday and Texas in Austin on March 2.
Long Season Continues For Tubby & Tortilla Tech
So much for that 9-1 start that Texas Tech (12-14 SU, 8-13 ATS) got off to. Tubby Smith's squad has since lost 13 of 16 and is stuck in a 3-game rut after returning home from Texas this past Saturday with a 56-41 loss to the Longhorns. The Red Raiders had just enough to cash for their backers as the sports books were giving them 16½ at the closing bell, leaving Smith's crew 4-9 ATS in Big 12 play.
This is one of the weakest offenses in the country, ranking 318th in scoring overall while placing dead last in conference games (52.6 ppg). It's not like Tech is making up for that with defense, either, the Red Raiders giving up more than 69 PPG and allowing opponents to connect on over 46% of their field goal tries.
A profitable side effect to Tech's impotence has been a string of 'under' winners. The last six Red Raider games never made it to the totals, leaving the 'under' on top in nine of their last 10. I'm guessing around 125 for this one, and will play it on the low side for my college basketball picks.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Baylor-Texas Tech Under 123 at BetOnline
Season: 46-40-1 (+2.0)