The No. 1 Baylor Bears, fresh off a double-digit road win over a hot Frogs squad, come back home to the Ferrell Center to face the newly No. 19 Texas Tech Red Raiders, who moved up in the AP rankings from four consecutive weeks at No. 25 after dismissing the Kansas Jayhawks in Lubbock on Saturday.
Texas Tech’s pre-season Big XII all-conference junior guard Terrance Shannon Jr. is not expected to play. He’s been out since mid-December battling a back injury.
During Shannon’s absence, the Raiders have ranked as the 4th best defense by efficiency but a cringingly 197th on offense, per BartTorvik.com. Against Kansas, they managed to drastically outperform their average by getting to the paint at will, shooting 61% from 2-point range.
Jeremy Sochan will be questionable. Drew has said he is day-to-day with a lower ankle sprain. The freshman wing has been a key piece in the rotation all season and would be counted on to play spot minutes at power forward against a physical Red Raiders team. Sochan rolled his left ankle against TCU on Saturday and missed the entire second half.
Expect Tech to attempt to exploit what has been a creeping weakness in the otherwise stalwart Baylor defense: backside cutters and late-action drives to the rim. Baylor’s guards have recently struggled to stop dribble penetration after the ball as rotated around the floor a few times. Jonathan Tchamwa-Tchatchoua and Flo Thamba will be heavily relied on to rotate into the paint and protect the rim.
The three-headed attack of Bryson Williams, Davion Warren, and Kevin McCullar — each averaging double-figures and standing taller than 6-6 — will be a tall task if Sochan is not ready to go.
The game may come down to the play of Drew’s three-guard lineup of James Akinjo, Adam Flagler, and LJ Cryer. That trio course corrected a wayward Baylor offense against TCU. Drew will likely call on that lineup again when the game bogs down.
These games against Tech are always a slog. Let’s see who wins BU-TT, Waco edition!