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Baylor at Texas Tech Preview and Prediction

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The Big 12 title race heats up this week

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at Baylor Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor (22-3, 9-3) takes on Texas Tech (16-9, 4-8) at 6:00 on Monday. The game is in Lubbock and airs on ESPNU.

Baylor won the first matchup 65-61. The Bears had a horrendous shooting game, finishing just 5-of-21 from 3-point range. That was surprising because Texas Tech ranks 265th in 3-point defense. With King McClure’s emergence in the last two games—he was 5-of-8 from the perimeter last week—hopefully he can make a few of these looks:

Baylor survived a brutal shooting game by getting to the line and making 26-of-28 free throws against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders usually don’t foul that often, but they’ve often struggled to stop elite talent. Josh Jackson scored 31 points on Saturday, and Motley had 25 in the first game. My guess is that Motley will be able to score once again.

On the defensive end, Baylor will need to limit Texas Tech’s shooting. A few times, Baylor closed out too hard on Texas Tech’s 3-point shots. Texas Tech is unique because many of their guys prefer to take long 2-point shots, sort of like Terry Maston. Making sure Baylor understands and keeps track of different scouting assignments will be vital. Texas Tech has six players in the top 500 of KenPom’s offensive rating. This team has a number of guys that can get hot.

Prediction

Lubbock can be a tough place to play. Texas Tech has a bad Big 12 record, but they make it close. They easily could have beaten KU on Saturday. With that loss, Texas Tech’s tournament hopes are teetering. This is a game they need to win.

Baylor has a little too much talent and has started making 3-point shots. Even if McClure has a bad shooting game, I suspect the Bears will be able to get Lecomte good looks:

Texas Tech might make a few more shots than Baylor would like, but they don’t quite have the offense or defense of Baylor. I’ll take Baylor 70-64.