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Texas at Baylor: Preview and Three Keys

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Sic ‘Em!

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Texas Stephen Spillman-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor takes on Texas at 8:00 on Wednesday. The game airs on ESPN2.

Texas won the first matchup 84-72. The Longhorns scored a ridiculous 1.25 points per possession (PPP), which is well above their Big 12 mark of 1.09 PPP.

Kerwin Roach, Texas’ best guard, is suspended indefinitely. He may return this season, but he won’t play on Wednesday.

We’ll return to the long preview for the Kansas State game. Until then, here are three keys and a prediction.

Three Keys:

1) 2-point defense: Texas’ giant frontcourt went 19-of-29 from inside the arc in Austin. Baylor can’t let that happen again. Texas shot better than expected from deep—they went 8-of-20. But Baylor needs to sell out to stop Texas inside. The Longhorns should end up attempting more threes than they did in the first game.

2) Handling pressure- The Longhorns elected to full-court press, for a time, against Baylor. With Makai Mason hobbled, and King McClure still day-to-day, Texas may run back that defense. Baylor handled things pretty well—finishing with 1.07 PPP and 14 turnovers. But Texas can ruin easy possessions, and Baylor wants to break the press a few times.

3) Attempt way more threes- Baylor’s going to struggle scoring inside against Texas’ giant forwards. The Bears should fire away more triples and bet Devonte Bandoo, Jared Butler and company can make the Longhorns pay.

Prediction:

With Roach out, Baylor should win this game. The Bears have their own personnel limitations—though not because of suspension.

I think Baylor does a better job limiting Texas’ frontcourt with Roach out, and they make some timely shots. I’ll take Baylor 72-68.