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Big 12 Tourney: Texas Longhorns vs Baylor Bears

The Big 12 Tournament Edition of perhaps the league's most heated rivalry at the moment could really bump up the NCAA Tournament standing for today's victor.

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Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
No. 22/20 Baylor (21-10, 10-8) vs. No. 23/22 Texas (20-11, 11-7)
March 10, 2016 | 11:30 a.m. CT
Kansas City, Mo. | Sprint Center (18,972)

TV: ESPN2 and WatchESPN

Radio: Tune In App | Sirius 93 | XM 199 | ESPN Central Texas

Watch | Gametracker Gametracker | Tickets Listen Online | Tickets Tickets
Baylor Notes | Tickets Texas Notes

The pregame interviews given by both teams would indicate that, while these two squads don't "hate" each other, there is a strong, mutual respect. That respect might occasionally manifest itself in overt physical aggression exceeding the legal bounds of the sport, but hey, it's sort of entertaining to watch such raw emotion unfold.

In the last meeting, Baylor was able to sideline Prince Ibeh for much of the game by forcing him to become a passer. Ibeh had dominated the first matchup, and his absence left the Longhorn defense vulnerable to Baylor's inside attack. His play today will be a huge factor in who wins.

Isaiah Taylor will be the other decider for Texas. He's suffered through injury the past couple of weeks, but he has the grit to play through it. If the first team Big 12 player (sidebar: how the heck did he get the nod over Monte Morris?) can drive past Lester Medford and into the paint, Baylor's defense will suffer mightily. In the first half against West Virginia this weekend, Baylor's leaky perimeter defense while in man was compounded by sluggish rotations by the back line. If Baylor comes out in man defense today, the rotations behind the guards will need to be much earlier. Otherwise, Taylor will be driving and dumping for easy assists all game long.

There really isn't anyone who matches up well against Taurean Prince on UT's roster. Prince will likely attract a lot of help defense when driving the ball. Hopefully he can recognize where the help is coming from and hit his open teammates. I would also like to see him bully UT's smaller wings in the post a bit, something he has only done intermittently this season.

Baylor has had some decent conference tournament runs in the past few years. Let's hope they have another one this year!