Texas, Baylor Defenses to Keep Scoring Low in Big 12 Games

Jay Pryce

Monday, January 22, 2018 1:58 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 22, 2018 1:58 PM UTC

Look for Texas and Baylor to play stellar defense in their respective home matchups against Iowa State and Kansas State on Monday night. Pick ‘under’ in each contest. Here’s why.

Iowa State at Texas (-7)

Texas (12-7 SU, 7-8 ATS) has taken eight of the last nine against Iowa State (11-7 SU, 6-9 ATS) at the Frank Erwin Center, a building it is protecting well this season. The Longhorns have won their last two home games, taking down ranked opponents in each. It topped then-No. 16 TCU 99-98 in double overtime two weeks ago, and thumped No. 8 Texas Tech 67-58 last Wednesday.

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FANS: Need YOU to #PackTheDrum on Monday night against Iowa State. Early tip time of 6 pm @ErwinCenter.

Create the home court advantage we need to bounce back quickly after yesterday.

TICKETS: https://t.co/Abpp4yYWk5 pic.twitter.com/nIhzDsZoEt

— Texas Basketball (@TexasMBB) January 21, 2018
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Coach Shaka Smart’s defense ranks seventh nationally in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency ratings. NBA prospect Mohamed Bamba anchors the unit. The freshman center leads the Big 12 and is second in the country with 4.5 blocks per game. Bamba’s paint presence may not make much of a difference in this matchup. The Cyclones take just 22.6 percent of their shots at the rim, the fewest in all of Division I hoops.

Iowa State is in the middle of a rebuilding year with four starters from last year’s Sweet 16 run graduated. The young group, two of its three leading point-getters a pair of freshmen in Lindell Wigginton (16.3 ppg) and Cameron Lard (12.1 ppg), is proving surprisingly consistent on offense, putting up 70 points or more in every league contest thus far. The defense, however, is a crapshoot. Its 43.2 opponent field-goal percentage in Big 12 plays ranks better than only TCU (46.4), while surrendering 73.3 points per game.

Texas has played just seven conference opponents with a lesser winning percentage all-time under Smart. It is 5-2 overall with the defense holding foes to 61.4 points per game. It has not allowed more than 70 in any contest. Texas should win, but isn’t equipped, nor play at a pace quick enough, to separate far from conference opponents. It has won by double digits just four times in 46 attempts behind Smart. Both teams fail to go over 70 points and the final tally stays south of the 139 game total.

Free NCAAB Pick: UnderBest Line Offered: Bookmaker

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Kansas State at Baylor (-4)

Baylor (12-7 SU, 7-5 ATS) is just 2-5 in Big 12 play, tied for last place with Iowa State and TCU. Coach Scott Drew can point to a brutal schedule for an excuse. Four of the seven games have come against ranked opponents: Texas Tech, TCU, West Virginia and Kansas. It lost by exactly three points versus the Horned Frogs, Mountaineers and Jayhawks. The Bears have played the 43rd toughest schedule in the country.

Baylor is lights out against unranked opponents, winning 11 of 12 and going 4-1 ATS. In the five games to hit the board, Drew’s always-tough defense is holding foes to 65.6 points per game on 39.1 percent shooting. None have been as deliberate and slow as Kansas State. The Wildcats rank 324 out of 351 D-I teams in tempo. The Wildcats, picked by Big 12 coaches to finish second from last in the Big 12 preseason poll, will be lucky to hit 60 points here. Baylor will welcome the tempo, as it is one of the few teams in the country to play slower than Kansas State (Bears are No. 326).

Since the start of last season, the ‘under’ is 8-1 when the Bears host unranked Big 12 foes at Ferrell Center, a 124.6 combined score staying a whopping 11.9 points below a 136.5 average total. Visitors are scoring 58.6 points per game on 38.2 percent shooting. Kansas State is the slowest opponents of any in this stretch. Don’t buck the trend here. This meeting stays 'under' the total easily.

Free NCAAB Pick: UnderBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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