|No. 22/22 Baylor (13-3, 3-1) at rv/rv Texas Tech (11-4, 1-3)|
Jan. 16, 2016 | 2:00 p.m. CT
Lubbock, Texas | United Supermarkets Arena (15,000)
TV: Fox Sports Southwest and Fox Sports Go
Radio: ESPN Central Texas
Scott Drew and the Baylor Bears face off against Tubby Smith has his Red Raiders, who have developed into squad not to be overlooked. Last season, the Bears needed the heroics of Taurean Prince down the stretch to get the win on senior night. This afternoon, Drew will be looking for a little more offensive balance against a defense ranked by KenPom as 41st in adjusted efficiency.
Texas Tech stands at 1-3 in the conference. They opened Big XII play with a win over Texas at home, but have lost three straight with losses to Iowa State and Kansas State on the road and to Kansas at home. That home crowd will be hungry for a win, so we might expect high energy and vitriol on the road.
Devaugntah Williams leads the Raiders in scoring (13.6) but shoots just 28% from three. His back court mate, Toddrick Gotcher, also averaged double figure scoring (11.4) and appears to be the only reliable outside shooter (40% on 4.9 attempts per game) on a team that struggles from the outside. Thus far in Big XII play, Tech has shot a meager 27% from outside the arc while allowing opponents to shoot 39.6% from the same range.
Heading into a matchup like that, Al Freeman and Taurean Prince might be Baylor's most successful offensive options. If Lester Medford, who has averaged 11 assists in each of the last two games, will need to continue to drive into the lane, collapse the defense, and pass the ball cleanly to his open teammates. Tech's greatest defensive strength is in forcing turnovers, and we have seen already this season that the Bears and Medford can struggle when teams apply pressure.
Baylor's front line of Rico Gathers, Johnathan Motley, and Terry Maston have been exceptional the last three games. If they can remain efficient and control the glass, it will be a tough game for Tech. The Motley-Maston duo has been particularly effective, and should Drew decide to play man defense, their quicker feet and long arms might be preferable to Gathers' strength. With Tech's struggles shooting the ball, however, expect the Bears to come out in zone to pack the paint.