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MBB Game 20: #19 Texas Longhorns vs. #20 Baylor Bears

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Despite both being ranking in the AP top 20, the Longhorns and Bears are battling to reach .500 in the Big 12. Can Baylor defend its home court against a sizable foe?

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
vs.

No. 20 Baylor (15-5, 3-4) vs. No. 19 Texas (14-6, 3-4)
Jan. 31, 2015 | 5:00 p.m. CT
Waco, Texas | Ferrell Center (10,284)

TV: ESPN2 and WatchESPN

Radio: ESPN Central Texas
National Radio: Sirius 91 / XM 91 / TuneIn App

Twitter: @BaylorMBB | #SicUT

GameTracker | Tickets Listen Online | Tickets Tickets | Tickets Baylor Notes | Tickets Texas Notes

Texas is a curious team. For instance, their freshman phenom Myles Turner, a 6-11 forward with a potent face-up game, has attempted more three point shots (37) than sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor (23). Turner's shooting a better percentage, too. At home, Texas have erased West Virginia by 27 points and lost to Oklahoma by 21. Talk about inside, outside, upside down.

Offensively, Texas is fairly similar to Baylor. They have a middling shooting percentage but an elite offensive rebounding rate. While Baylor's second chances come from positioning and energy, Texas has the height you would expect of an effective rebounding team. The Longhorn starting lineup features three players between 6-8 and 6-9, with a 6-10 and a 6-11 player coming off the bench. That's a lot of height. Rico Gathers, Johnathan Motley, and Deng Deng will have their work cut out for them contesting shots, keeping Texas off the glass, and getting shots over long arms.

To get a better idea of how this Longhorn team operates, check out the Q&A we did with our SBNation sister site Burnt Orange Nation.

On offense, the difference in this game for Baylor will be outside shooting. The paint will be a forest. The Bears already have difficulty finishing around the rim, and Texas' length should only exacerbate that. If they can manage to free up Taurean Prince and Royce O'Neale for open threes, and if Kenny Chery and Lester Medford can make some outside shots of their own, Baylor can keep up on the scoreboard.

On defense, Baylor will need to pack the paint and force Texas to take jump shots. When Oklahoma wiped them in Austin, the Longhorns were 6-21 from three. Jonathan Holmes and Javan Felix are the only players who shoot more than 3 threes per game while also making an acceptable rate. If Baylor can keep Taylor out of the paint and force him to become a jump shooter, Texas' offense should stagnate.

Three Quick Keys

1.) Keep the Horns off the offensive glass

2.) Force jump shots

3.) Draw fouls inside

Stats

<div style="margin:0px auto;text-align:center"><a href="http://statsheet.com/mcb" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:none;color:#999;font-family:sans-serif;font-size:11px">College Basketball</a><br /><script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src="http://statsheet.com/charts/chartlets/2015/01/31/mcb_games_2015_01_31_2015_01_31_texas_vs_baylor_185801.js"></script></div>

<div style="margin:0px auto;text-align:center"><a href="http://statsheet.com/mcb" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:none;color:#999;font-family:sans-serif;font-size:11px">NCAA Basketball</a><br /><script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" src="http://statsheet.com/charts/chartlets/2015/01/31/mcb_games_2015_01_31_2015_01_31_texas_vs_baylor_144080.js"></script></div>

Prediction

Baylor is favored by 2.5 points at home, while KenPom projects a 3 point win with a 67% chance of victory. Defending home court is imperative for Baylor as it enters the February stretch. So here's my prediction: Rico uses his strength to push around Texas' taller front line, Prince and O'Neale get out in transition and open on the perimeter, and Medford makes plays to open space for his teammates while Texas struggles to get the ball inside and can't hit enough jump shots to win. Texas 60 - Baylor 64.

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