|No. 21/19 Baylor (18-6, 7-4) vs. Texas Tech (14-9, 4-7)|
Feb. 13, 2016 | 7:00 p.m. CT
Waco, Texas | Ferrell Center (10,284)
TV: ESPNU and WatchESPN
Radio: Tune In App | Sirius 145 | XM 199 | ESPN Central Texas
At 4-7 against the Big XII, Texas Tech poses an interesting challenge to the Bears. After starting 1-4 in conference play, Tech has gone 3-3 with two overtime wins. The latest came against No. 14 Iowa State Wednesday night. Tech has yet to pick up a road win against a high caliber opponent - it does have one road win this season against TCU. Tonight's game will be between two slow-paced teams, though, and fewer possessions could mean a close game, where Tubby Smith's team has shown some mettle recently.
Baylor, for its part, is looking to break a two game conference home losing streak. Picking up road wins against Oklahoma State and Kansas State are nice, but defending your home floor is paramount in college basketball. The Bears will also be looking to sweep its third conference rival of the season tonight.
On paper, Baylor has a clear advantage heading in. Scott Drew's squad is 9th in the country in adj. offensive efficiency, per KenPom, while Tech is 63rd in adj. defense and 10th in the Big XII. Tech has only one consistent three-point threat - Baylor's bugaboo in conference play - in Toddrick Gotcher and a couple of streaky shooters in Devaugntah Williams and Aaron Ross. Unless the Raiders really outperform their outside shooting tonight, something that could definitely happen, it's tough to see how they will keep up with the Bears.
Terry Maston had a nice game in the last matchup. He scored 12 points on 6-8 shooting with patient post moves. Al Freeman, who scored 21 points on Wednesday against Kansas State, led Baylor in scoring with 14 in a low-scoring game. It'd be great to see those two find their consistency down the home stretch and provide quality contributions night to night.
Rico Gathers missed Wednesday night's game with the flu, and I'm not sure what his status is heading into tonight. His absence makes Baylor's front line pretty thin, and while the Bears can survive that against a team like Tech, it'd certainly be better to see him back in the lineup.
Be sure to be loud and pack the Ferrell Center tonight, Bears fans!
P.S. Just a heads up to the readers, I'll not be able to catch this game live, so the recap might be as late as Sunday. afternoon.