Texas vs. Baylor Pick NCAA Basketball – January 17th

We notched a nice NCAA winner last night with North Carolina finally putting away Syracuse to win by 17 and cover the steep number.  It pulls the season record to 45-25-1 ATS on The Sports Geek, keeping a nice season humming along smoothly.  Last night was FAR from the best performance from the Tar Heels, but when you can offensively rebound the way they do, a lot of other ills get covered up nicely.  They may not be the BEST team in the country, but they are going to be a tough out in the tournament as they have more margin for error than any other team in the country.

Elsewhere yesterday, Creighton got a HUGE win over Xavier in Cincinnati but may have taken a bigger LOSS in the process with an apparent injury to their point guard.  Assuming it isn’t tragically serious, Creighton looks like a legit top two or three seed in March at 18-1 and their only loss coming to Villanova.  And speaking of the Wildcats, they continued to roll yesterday with a dominant 76-46 win over a quality Seton Hall team to make their first day back as the #1 team in the country a validating one.

March is starting to take on some good storylines with Villanova, Gonzaga, UCLA, North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky all looking dominant and equally distributed throughout the country.  The excellence of those six teams, coupled with the underwhelming results from Duke make this one of the more wide-open January’s in recent memory – and it is GREAT for college hoops.

Today’s Free Pick:

Texas Longhorns at Baylor Bears -14

This is a lay-up on the first surface glance.  Baylor has only one loss and was ranked #1 in the nation as recently as three days ago.  Texas is a disaster at 7-10 and 1-4 in Big Twelve play.  Blowout Bears, right?

Well… not so fast.

First of all, fourteen is a TON of points to lay in any conference game.  With the exception of Oklahoma, Baylor hasn’t been in any conference blowouts, unless you count the LOSS to west Virginia.  Likewise, Texas hasn’t been involved in any blowouts either.  Their worst conference loss was a nine-pointer at Iowa State.  The other three were by a combined eight points to West Virginia, TCU and @Kansas State – all currently projected as NCAA Tournament teams.

Texas is having a lousy year, but they don’t have lousy talent.  This isn’t a personnel blowout, though Baylor is clearly the better basketball team.  This has the makings of a game that is a lot more competitive than the line and the respective records indicates.  Texas has lost a ton, but they have been really CLOSE lately.  Close is all we need tonight with a 14-point cushion to soften the landing.

Free Pick:  Texas Longhorns +14

Chris Scheeren / Author