Matchup: Baylor Bears 21-4 (9-3) at Texas Tech Red Raiders 19-6 (8-4)
Where to Watch: ESPN2
Money Line: Texas Tech -2 O/U 136
Things are starting to get really interesting in the Big 12 picture. As it stands right now Baylor is second in the conference at 9-3 while Texas Tech is right behind them at 8-4. If Tech can win this one then they have the head-to-head tie breaker over the Bears and will be in second place. A loss likely takes away any hope of first place and separates the two teams by two games.
With six games left in the regular season, this matchup is the first of two that will likely be this close of a spread. Saturdays matchup at Texas will either have the Longhorns favored by a point or two or have Tech be the favorite as an away team. The rest of the schedule for Texas Tech should see them favored by at least six in each game, so winning these next two will help the resume and keep Tech in the race for the regular season conference title.
We know what we’re getting with Baylor. The defending national champs are solid across the board and have four guys averaging double-digit points per game. LJ Cryer is a game time decision for this game and would be a huge boost for the Bears who just recently lost JTT to a gruesome knee injury. James Akinjo is one of the best players in the country and will be a handful for the Red Raiders to stop. Their guards are much smaller than ours so the size advantage there will help us, but they still have guys like Flo Thamba and Mattew Mayer who can step up for JTT and provide points in the paint.
If we’re going to win this game which will likely be without Kevin McCullar, we’re going to need Terrence Shannon Jr. to step up and be the leader on offense as well as the defensive end of the floor. I expect another 20 point game from TJ and I would also like to see Kevin Obanor be more efficient with his shots. If that means taking the ball to the rim and passing up a contested three then so be it, he needs to get a rhythm going here for the late season stretch. We’re also going to need to out rebound this team because when they get second chances their shooters usually capitalize so taking away those second chance opportunities is going to help us keep this game in hand.
Adonis Arms is likely going to be playing more with McCullar out, so I would also like to see him take shots and continue to be a guy that can drive the ball to the rim and either find the open guy or put somebody on a poster.
I have the final score being 70-67 with Tech holding on for the close victory. JTT being out for the Bears is going to not only affect them against us but it could be a dagger in their hopes of repeating last years run.