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Baylor-West Virginia: Preview and Prediction

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The Bears look to close out conference play strong with a potential Big 12 title on the line!

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Baylor Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor (26-3, 15-2) looks to earn a potential Big 12 title and end the regular season strong as they travel to Morgantown to take on West Virginia (20-10, 8-9). The game is on Saturday at noon central time and will be “televised” on ESPN+ (I know, I know.. bleh).

Three Keys

  1. Do Mark Vital and Tristan Clark play? At the writing of this article, it seems unclear whether or not these two will be ready to go. Chris Beard and Texas Tech tried to take advantage of their absence in the last game and it nearly worked. However, the Bears were able to grind it out for a win. Even if they don’t play, Baylor can win this game. But their presence would certainly help (if they are at all injured though, Scott Drew is absolutely right to hold them out as this team has much bigger aspirations in the postseason).
  2. Defense, defense, defense! In these two teams’ last meeting, Baylor absolutely dominated West Virginia defensively. They held the Mountaineers to 34.5% shooting and turned them over 22 times. The Bears will need a similar defensive effort, especially if short handed, to win on the road.
  3. Offensive efficiency. Part of why Baylor blew out the Mountaineers in their last meeting was they shot a crisp 51.8% from the field, including 33.3% from three point range. The Bears have not shot 50% or above since that game. So I think it’s unlikely they are that efficient this game. But, if they can shoot in the mid 40s range in terms of percentage that’s probably enough to get it done.

Prediction

Baylor knows what’s on the line here. If they win and Texas Tech can beat Kansas in Lubbock (which I think is very possible), the Bears will secure a share of a regular season Big 12 title. That’s something Scott Drew and Baylor have never done in their current conference. The Bears will come out with fire. West Virginia has looked pretty atrocious as of late. I don’t think one win against the second worst team in the Big 12 (Iowa State) erases that downward trend. Baylor wins it, but probably by less than double digits.

65-57 Baylor