Texas Tech Red Raiders (22-4) at Baylor Bears (16-10)
We took a heart-breaking loss last night when we backed the Rhode Island Rams on the road at St. Bonaventure. The Rams were leading by three points and covering the -2.5-point number with under two minutes to play. The Bonnies knew their season was on the line and trailed 74-73 with twenty-one seconds left on the clock. LaDarien Griffin was able to get to the rim for a huge dunk to give the Bonnies the lead, and they held on for a 77-74 upset win.
It couldn’t have been a bigger win for the Bonnies as they should now be safely inside the field of 68 for the NCAA tournament. The Bonnies badly needed a signature win, and they got it when they broke Rhode Island’s 16-game winning streak. Today I will shift focus to another team that needs a huge win, the Baylor Bears, as they host the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders will travel to Waco Saturday night to face the Baylor Bears in primetime. The Red Raiders hold a slim one-game lead over the Kansas Jayhawks for the Big 12 regular season title. A title that Kansas has won, an NCAA record, thirteen straight times. If the Red Raiders want to snap that historic streak, they will need to take care of business tonight at Baylor.
Baylor, on the other hand, is fighting for its tournament life as they are currently squarely on the bubble and could bolster their resume in a huge way with a win tonight over a top ten ranked Texas Tech team. Baylor is -1.5-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 133.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 PM PST from the Ferrell Center.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders have a chance to make history this season. Well, at least they have a chance to stop history. Texas Tech is trying to win the Big 12 regular season title outright and snap the Kansas Jayhawks 13 straight league titles.
The road is going to be brutal for the Red Raiders as they still have to play games against TCU and West Virginia and must host the Jayhawks on February 24th. The Red Raiders will likely have to run the table in order to win the league. That is going to be a very tough task. If they want any shot to do that they must take care of business tonight against a hot Baylor Bears team.
These two teams matched up in December and Texas Tech destroyed the Bears, 77-53. However, Baylor was forced to play that game without their best player Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. The seven-footer from down under has been a force in Big 12 league play this season and has exploded up the NBA draft boards.
Lual-Acuil is averaging 15 points and 9 boards a game and protects the rim as well, averaging close to 2 blocks a game. The big man has been a double-double machine, and Texas Tech is going to have a much harder time with Baylor this time around.
The Bears are playing very well right now. They weren’t even in serious consideration for an NCAA tournament at-large bid just a couple of weeks ago. But the Bears have gotten hot and picked up a couple of big wins recently. The Bears have won four straight including wins against Kansas and Texas. The hot streak now has Baylor in the conversation for an at-large bid, and they could really launch themselves up those rankings if they were able to pick up a win tonight against Texas Tech.
There will be plenty of opportunities for resume building wins the rest of the way out as the Bears still have games against West Virginia, TCU, Oklahoma, and K-State left on the schedule. They will have to win a couple of those to have a real shot at dancing this year.
I know Baylor is playing very well right now. But this number still surprised me. This game had home underdog written all over it. Yeah, the Bears have won four straight but are we that quick to forget they lost six out of seven before this current winning streak?
The one pain point for Texas Tech has been road games in conference. They dropped games to Texas, Iowa State, and Oklahoma on the road in league play. But that isn’t to say that Texas Tech can’t win league games on the road. They beat TCU, Kansas State, and Kansas on the road this season.
When I saw this on the schedule before the line posted, I assumed the Bears would be getting a couple of points at home and would be a nice home underdog play. But the fact that they are laying -1.5 points is absurd.
Texas Tech is an elite team this season. They could very easily win the Big 12 and be a one seed in the NCAA tournament. I understand they haven’t been the greatest on the road in league play, but being underdogs to a Baylor team that is barely on the bubble, just doesn’t make sense to me.
I think Texas Tech wins this game outright. It will be a tight hard-fought game that comes down to the last several possessions, but Texas Tech is just the much better team and will find a way to get the job done.
That being said, I will hedge my bet just a little bit and snatch up that point and a half just in case the ball bounces bad at the end of the game. Give me the Texas Tech Red Raiders getting 1.5-points tonight from Waco.