No conference this year has been tougher than the Big 12. Even the SEC doesn’t even come close. Of the ten teams in the Big 12, six are projected to make the big dance, the third most of any conference.
Even though the Big 12 doesn’t have the highest quantity of teams making the NCAA Tournament, they have the highest quality teams. According to KenPom’s rankings, four of the top 14 teams in the country are in the Big 12 (Baylor, Kansas, Texas, and Texas Tech)
The State of Texas runs the Big 12 and all of college hoops, as Houston of the AAC is pretty good too. On Monday night, Texas hosts Baylor in a battle between Waco and Austin. Austin may have better barbecue, but most people believe Waco has better basketball.
In their first meeting at Baylor, the Bears won by 17 points. At Texas on Monday night, the question is if Baylor can win again?
Please note that all college basketball odds and lines are current as of 12:30 p.m. ET on Monday, February 28.
Baylor vs. Texas Predictions
Just like the Katy Perry song, Baylor has been hot and cold all season. Also, like another Katy Perry song, Baylor had fireworks against Kansas this weekend, as they beat the top team in the conference 80-70 at home.
Baylor was a favorite to win the National Championship at one point in the season. They started the season undefeated with a 15-0 record. Since then, they have been 9-5 almost exclusively against Big 12 opponents.
The Bears have beaten Villanova, Kansas, and Texas this season, but they also have losses against Texas Tech (twice), Alabama, and Oklahoma State.
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The best way to look at Baylor’s strength as a team is to look at their adjusted efficiency stats. The way adjusted efficiency stats work is they adjust a team’s performance based on the pace and the quality of their opponents.
The Bears play the 15th toughest schedule in the country, so their regular efficiency stats won’t show how good they are. Once you factor in Baylor’s opponents, they have the eighth-best offensive efficiency and the 13th best defensive efficiency.
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Texas quietly has been one of the better teams in the country. They have the 17th best defensive efficiency in the country and the 27th best offensive efficiency. Most importantly, they play at the 17th slowest adjusted tempo in the country, which helps keep games against tough opponents close.
In the Longhorns’ first meeting against Baylor, they never had a chance. Their best win probability during that game was 35 percent after four and a half minutes were played, and then they fell apart.
In my opinion, Texas was unlucky in that game. They lost the rebound battle 29-17 and shot only 31.1 percent on two-point field goals. Even against a tough Baylor team, at home with better luck, Texas should win or at least keep the game close.
Baylor vs. Texas Prediction: Texas 68, Baylor 67
Baylor vs. Texas Best Bet
Best Bet: Texas +1.5 (-110) at BetWay
Wager: 1 Unit
If you can get Texas as a 1.5-point underdog at home, it is worth a serious look, even against Baylor.
The Bears are one of the best teams in the country, but they are not a lock to beat other top 25 teams. They have disappointed on several occasions this season in tough Big 12 road games. In fact, Baylor has yet to beat a top 25 team on the road this season.
Home court won’t be an issue for March Madness and the Big 12 conference tournament, as those games are played at neutral sites. The problem for Baylor tonight is that they must play a tough Texas team on the road.
With the Longhorns as a 1.5-point dog, they are worth a bet tonight.