What an absolutely action packed day we have for you today on the college hoops hardwood! With over 130 games on the schedule, and many of the top teams in the nation set to play, today is going to be a great day of college basketball action. There are several games today that feature both teams ranked in the top-25 nationally.
The headlining game of the day comes to us from Lubbock, Texas, as the 15th ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders will look to hand the 2nd ranked Baylor Bears their first loss of the season. 21st ranked Ohio State travel to Illinois to play the 14th ranked Illini in Big 10 action. The Minnesota Golden Gophers host Michigan, looking to slow down the red hot and undefeated Wolverines with both teams appearing in the top-25 of the most recent AP Poll.
— Michigan Men's Basketball (@umichbball) January 16, 2021
Other ranked teams set to play today include the nation’s top team, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, as they face one of their biggest conference tests of the season at their archrivals, St. Mary’s. Louisville plays at Miami, Tennessee hosts Vanderbilt, Clemson and Virginia square off in the ACC, Missouri takes their show on the road to Texas A&M, and the Texas Longhorns invite the Kansas State Wildcats to Austin.
With so many games scheduled and so many great teams in action, there is value all over the board today. For our free daily betting pick, we will head to Lubbock, where the Texas Tech Red Raiders will seek their 2nd straight win over a top-10 opponent, this time against the undefeated Baylor Bears.
- Baylor Bears (11-0) at Texas Tech Red Raiders (11-3)
- United Sprint Arena, Lubbock
- 1:00 PM PST
- TV: ESPN
If you ask the NCAA Selection Committee, the Baylor Bears are the best team in the nation right now. The Bears jumped the Gonzaga Bulldogs in this week’s version of the NET rankings and will look to stay atop the rankings tonight as they head to Texas Tech to play the Red Raiders. The Bears are undefeated on the season but will be looking for just their 2nd win over a top-25 team tonight.
⚫️ 𝔾𝕒𝕞𝕖𝕕𝕒𝕪 ⚫️ pic.twitter.com/wVtXXXH8Ln
— Texas Tech Basketball (@TexasTechMBB) January 16, 2021
For Texas Tech, the Red Raiders are coming off of a huge come from behind victory over Texas in their last game, and a win over Baylor tonight would keep the Red Raiders in the Big 12 regular season title picture. Chris Beard’s team looks poised for another deep run in the NCAA tournament, and a win tonight over Baylor would go a long way into getting them a top seed in the Big Dance.
Texas Tech Red Raiders (11-3)
I think this Texas Tech team could absolutely make a run all of the way to the Final Four. Red Raiders head coach Chris Beard took Tech to the Final Four in 2019, coming up just short of taking home his first national title, and I’m not sure that this team doesn’t have more talent than his 2019 squad. The addition of guys like Mac McClung and freshman Micah Peavy has Texas Tech feeling like they can beat anybody, and they showed that is indeed the case with the win against Texas earlier this week.
The hero in the win over the Longhorns was none other than Georgetown transfer Mac McClung. McClung leads the Red Raiders in scoring at over 15 points per game and showed absolutely no fear when he drained the game-winning 3-pointer at this buzzer on the road in Austin. McClung scored a season-high 22 points against Texas, and if the Red Raiders are going to be able to protect their home floor tonight, he is going to have to be on his game against this stout Baylor defense.
Baylor Bears (11-0)
Just how good is this Baylor Bears team? Coming into the season, the Bears were right there with Gonzaga as the consensus top team in the nation. And while Gonzaga has racked up signature wins over teams like Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa, and Virginia, the Bears have been light on resume-building victories. Now, that hasn’t really been their fault, as they saw several games get canceled due to Corona Virus concerns, including what would have been a one versus two matchup with the Zags, but with the exception of the early-season victory over Illinois, the Bears haven’t really been tested yet this season.
Consider the next 7 days that long-awaited test for Baylor. The Bears play at Texas Tech, then home against Kansas, before going on the road to Oklahoma State. If they can manage to win all 3 of those games, I am ready to say that this is a team that deserves to be ranked ahead of the Zags.
If they lose two or three of those games, Baylor will have to be downgraded from great to just really good. The most likely scenario is somewhere in between where Baylor gets a split during this tough stretch of the schedule. If you want to know how good Baylor is this year, just give it a week and check back, and we will have that answer.
Who Do I Like?
If you believe Kenpom’s metrics, the Texas Tech Red Raiders have the 3rd biggest home court advantage of any team in the nation this year. Only West Virginia and Colorado currently rate out as tougher places to win than in Lubbock. So, it is fairly shocking to see that not only are the Red Raiders home underdogs tonight, they are fairly big home dogs, getting +4.5-points.
Now, you can certainly make a case that Baylor is the best team in the nation, or at absolute worst, the 2nd best team in the nation. So, if Texas Tech is going to be home dogs to anybody, Baylor makes some sense. But I just can’t stop myself from thinking that Texas Tech is going to hand Baylor their first loss of the season tonight. And the fact that I can back the Red Raiders and get more than a full possession’s worth of points seems like insanely high value.
I am backing Texas Tech in this one. It’s hard to ever want to fade a team that is as good as this Baylor team is right now. But with the win at Texas, the Red Raiders showed me they can beat any team in the nation. Texas is absolutely a top-10 team this season, and that win showed me that Chris Beard’s team can cut down the nets in March if they get hot.
And while Baylor certainly passes the eye test, they haven’t really proven they can beat the best of the best in hostile territory. The win over Illinois seemed like a really good one when they picked it up, but Illinois has underachieved a bit, as they already have 4 losses on the year. The Bears have a couple of other “nice” wins over the likes of Oklahoma, Iowa State, and TCU, but none of those wins prove to me that they can win on the road against a team as good as Texas Tech.
This is going to be a very tightly contested and hard-fought game. Both of these teams play hard-nosed defense, they are both ranked in the top-5 in terms of defensive efficiency, and there are going to be no easy buckets scored tonight. If I had to make a stand on a side in this game, I truly do believe that Texas Tech is going to pick up the win.
But luckily for me, I don’t have to have a strong opinion on a side, as I can back the Red Raiders getting a handful of points. And that is just what I will do in this one. Give me the Texas Tech Red Raiders tonight at home, getting +4.5-points as they look to shock the world and hand the Baylor Bears their first loss of the year. I’ll call it a 77-75 final score from Lubbock!