Big 12 College Basketball Picks: #19 Oklahoma Sooners at #21 Baylor Bears

#19 Oklahoma Sooners at #21 Baylor Bears
Ferrell Center – Waco, Texas

Saturday, January 24, 2015, 6:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Baylor -1 1/2
Current Line: Baylor -2
Opening Total: 130
Current Total: 130
Opening Money Line: Baylor -130 / Oklahoma +110
Current Money Line: Baylor -130 / Oklahoma +110

Baylor is a slight favorite against Oklahoma Saturday.
Baylor is a slight favorite against Oklahoma Saturday.

Six Big 12 teams are currently ranked in the top 25 and as many as eight or possibly nine of the conference’s ten teams could qualify for the NCAA or NIT tournaments in March. The 12-6 Oklahoma Sooners travel to the 14-4 Baylor Bears Saturday in a key contest. Oklahoma is 3-3 in conference and tied with Oklahoma State for sixth, while Baylor is 2-3 and in eighth place.

Oklahoma leads the series 42-11 against Baylor, including 1805 in Waco. The Sooners have won 5 straight regular season games against the Bears, but Baylor did beat Oklahoma in the Big 12 tournament last year. Oklahoma beat Baylor 73-63 in Norman to open Big 12 play this season January 3.

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Oklahoma is coached by Lon Kruger. The Sooners have road losses at Creighton, West Virginia and Kansas 85-78 Monday night. Oklahoma has neutral site losses to Wisconsin in the Bahamas and Washington in Las Vegas, along with a home loss to Kansas State. The Sooners have lost 3 of their last 4 games. Oklahoma has neutral site wins over UCLA and Butler in the Bahamas, home wins over Missouri, Oral Roberts, Weber State, George Mason, Baylor and Oklahoma State, plus road wins over Tulsa and Texas. The Sooners are 9-7 ATS and the total is 7-8 this season. Oklahoma was a 5.5 point underdog at Kansas and the total was 138.

Baylor is coached by Scott Drew. The Bears have losses to Illinois in Las Vegas, road losses at Oklahoma and Kansas State and a home loss to Kansas. Baylor has won 3 of their last 4 games. Baylor has road wins at South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and TCU, a neutral site win over Memphis in Las Vegas, and home wins over Stephen F. Austin, Texas Southern, Texas A&M, New Mexico State, and Iowa State. Baylor beat NAIA school Huston-Tillotson 81-61 Wednesday night. For obvious reasons there wasn’t a line posted on that game. Baylor is 6-5-1 ATS and the total is 6-6 this season.

Oklahoma is outscoring teams 73-63 this season. The Sooners are shooting 44.3% from the field and34.2% from 3 point range. Oklahoma makes 73% of their free throws. The Sooners are #45 nationally in free throw shooting. Opponents are shooting 37.5% from the field and 29.7% from 3 point range. Oklahoma is #31 or better in both categories nationally. The Sooners average 39.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 33.9 per game. Oklahoma is #20 in rebounding but #317 in rebounds allowed out of 353 teams. The Sooners average 12.6 assists, 12.9 turnovers, 6.8 steals and 5.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.1 assists, 13.7 turnovers, 7.2 steals and 3.3 blocks per game.

Guard Buddy Hield averages 18.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Isaiah Cousins averages 12.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. TaShawn Thomas averages 11.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. Ryan Spangler averages 9.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game. Jordan Woodard averages 8.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Dinjiyl Walker, Frank Booker and Khadeem Lattin also get minutes in the rotation. Forward dante buford is out for the season because of academics.

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Baylor is outscoring teams 69-58 this season. The Bears are #19 nationally in points allowed. Baylor is shooting 42.2% from the field and 36% from 3 point range. The Bears make 66% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 39% from the field and 29.8% from 3 point range. The Bears are #45 or better nationally in both categories. Baylor averages 42.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 27.7 per game. The Bears are #5 nationally in rebounding and #43 in rebounds allowed. Baylor averages 14.9 assists, 12.4 turnovers, 7.2 steals and 4.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 14.1 assists, 12.3 turnovers, 6.2 steals and 3.8 blocks per game.

 

Forward Taureen Prince averages 12.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 1 block per game. Kenny Chery averages 11.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Rico Gathers averages 10.8 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. Royce O’Neale averages 9.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. Johanathan Motley averages 9.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. Lester Medford 7.7 points, 1.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Al Freeman, Deng Deng, and Ishmail Wainwright will also get minutes in the rotation.

Oklahoma is 11-3 ATS after failing to cover, 10-3 after a straight up loss, 22-7-1 in Saturday games, and 9-4 against Big 12 teams. Oklahoma is 23-8-2 ATS against Baylor recently including 12-2-2 in Waco.

Baylor is 8-2-1 ATS against teams with losing road records, 5-2-1 in Saturday games, 1-3-1 against teams with winning records, 1-4-1 overall and against Big 12 teams, and 0-3-1 after a straight up win. The over is 15-7 in the last 22 games in this series.

Oklahoma should be better in scoring defenses if you look at their field goal defensive numbers. Oklahoma grabs a ton of rebounds but also gives up a lot as well. Baylor can struggle on offense sometimes like they did 3 weeks ago against Oklahoma. Still, Baylor has been playing better recently and I think they win at home in a close game.

 

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