College Basketball Odds, Pick & Preview for Baylor vs. Texas Tech (Wednesday, February 16)
Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin McCullar (Texas Tech)
- No. 7 Baylor hosts No. 11 Texas Tech in what is expected to be the game of the night in college hoops on Wednesday.
- The Bears just lost Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua for the season, so it will be interesting to see how the Bears adjust on the interior.
- Shane McNichol breaks down the matchups within the matchup and offers up his top pick.
Baylor vs. Texas Tech Odds
-110o / -110u
|Texas Tech Odds|
-110o / -110u
Entering Wednesday’s showdown between Baylor and Texas Tech, there is so much on the line for both teams.
Each is projected as a top three seed in the NCAA Tournament by BracketMatrix. Both are chasing Kansas in the Big 12 standings, with a host of squads right on their tails.
There is a major advantage to seeding in the conference tournament, with every team looking to avoid Kansas for as long as possible, given the Jayhawks’ domination at the event played in nearby Kansas City.
For the two hours or so after tip-off in Lubbock, though, all of those implications and storylines will fade into the background, as fans and bettors are treated to a great game between two of the nation’s best teams.
When Baylor’s roster has been at full strength, there have been few teams better in college basketball this season. Unfortunately for Scott Drew and the Bears, that hasn’t been the case of late.
Only three of Baylor’s top eight players have played in every game this season, though one of those three, center Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, suffered a season-ending injury in Baylor’s last game.
The Bears have needed to improvise on the offensive end, with a rotating cast in the backcourt. All three of Baylor’s best guards missed at least one game in January, with LJ Cryer sidelined for the Bears’ last five games.
He plays a very different role than Tchamwa Tchatchoua, but Cryer’s return could help alleviate the loss Baylor will feel without its high-energy big man.
Drew will need to chose whether we see more small-ball lineups going forward, or if the bigs further down his bench can provide some production. We’ll certainly see a lot more of Flo Thamba, but when Thamba heads to the bench — especially if foul trouble is an issue — Drew has a decision to make.
His forwards, though generally all more perimeter oriented, have the length and athleticism to play bigger for short stints. Matthew Mayer, Jeremy Sochan and Kendall Brown can cause mismatches offensively to make up for their lack of size defensively, yet Baylor could really suffer on the glass.
Wednesday against Texas Tech, keeping Marcus Santos-Silva off of the boards will be a focal point, especially when Baylor goes small.
Texas Tech fans have been treated to some of the best basketball in the country this year.
A narrow win over Big 12 stalwart Kansas signaled the arrival of this Red Raiders team on the national scene. An early February win over former Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard and his Longhorns came in front of one of the most raucous atmospheres college basketball has seen in a long time.
Now, the citizens of Lubbock will welcome the reigning national champion Baylor Bears for what promises to be another fantastic game. All told, Texas Tech is 15-0 at home this season, covering the spread in 80% of those games (12-3 ATS at home this season).
First-year head coach Mark Adams has the Red Raiders ready for the big time, especially on the defensive end. Tech ranks third nationally in defensive efficiency, in part due to Adams’ schemes.
The Red Raiders are keeping opponents penned to the perimeter and forcing teams to beat them with jump shots. Only 12 teams in college basketball are allowing a higher ratio of 3-pointers to 2-point attempts, and Tech ranks 12th in Division I in percentage of points allowed from outside the arc.
That can be a dangerous game against teams that shoot well or get hot for a game, but over the course of the season, preventing easy looks inside the arc makes everything else a slog for offenses facing Tech.
Baylor vs. Texas Tech Betting Pick
I’m looking for two things while watching this game.
First, how will Baylor respond to losing Tchamwa Tchatchoua? As discussed above, I’d expect to see some more small-ball lineups from Baylor.
Texas Tech doesn’t have any elite bigs to punish that strategy, but Adams has a steady rotation of capable frontcourt players who will make things difficult in the paint for smaller Baylor lineups. Any extra possessions created by a wide rebounding margin could give Tech a major leg up.
The second thing I’m watching for is Baylor’s willingness to settle for 3-point jump shots. Baylor does not have the shooting talent it had last season, especially if Cryer, the Bears’ best outside shooter, stays sidelined.
Baylor could certainly get hot with a high number of attempts, but Adams and his Red Raiders are willing to take that chance.
At home, where Tech has been rock solid, I like the Red Raiders. Texas Tech’s defensive intensity and advantages in the paint are too much to overlook. If a red-hot Baylor shooting performance swings the game, so be it.
Pick: Texas Tech -1 (Play up to -3)
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