Among the four ranked teams in action on Monday’s college hoops slate, there’s a top-25 showdown between No. 3 Baylor and No. 21 Texas. Let’s dive into my college basketball best bets for this contest.
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Baylor Bears at Texas Longhorns
After the Bears’ second-half comeback against the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday, they’re tied for the sixth-shortest national title odds. They’ll aim to improve their price with a win over the Longhorns in Austin, Texas.
Scott Drew’s bunch was victorious in their first meeting on Feb. 12, closing as a five-point favorite before earning an 80-63 win. Texas’ inefficiency inside the arc allowed Baylor to clean up the glass and dominate the tempo in transition, which is a consistent issue for Chris Beard’s unit.
For the Longhorns to earn revenge, they’ll need force the Bears to play more in the halfcourt against their no-middle defense — a scheme that limits opponents’ success via dribble penetration. But in turn, their offense must find their own semblance of success in the same area.
Where Texas Can Take Advantage
According to ShotQuality, Baylor’s defense is third-worst in the Big 12 at defending isolation sets. The Longhorns run that type of action often, yet its backcourt — led by Minnesota transfer Marcus Carr — has struggled to hit shots.
Nevertheless, the Longhorns attack will be less stagnant if it’s operating through the 6-foot-6 Timmy Allen on the block. The Bears’ post-up defense, especially without Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (season-ending knee injury), lets up the conference’s fourth-most efficient looks.
Expect the Longhorns’ guards to generate cleaner looks from behind the arc if that comes to fruition. In particular, the Bears’ no-middle defense has struggled most against off-the-dribble 3s, and Beard inserting Andrew Jones into starting five has produced just that.
At the other end, Texas’ scheme can certainly limit Baylor’s ball-screen action at a more methodical pace. Even though the Longhorns have struggled on the defensive glass, the loss of Tchamwa Tchatchoua is a key factor to consider because of his offensive rebounding prowess and Drew’s smaller rotation if fellow big Flo Thamba gets in foul trouble.
Baylor-Texas Betting Pick
Overall, I’ll wait to see if the line shifts to Longhorns +2 or better before considering the underdog for my college basketball best bets. Keep an eye out to see if Bears guard LJ Cryer (foot) is active too, as the market would likely trend towards Baylor.
Best Available Line: Texas