College Basketball Big 12 Semifinals Betting Preview: #7 Baylor Bears vs #3 Texas Longhorns

2014 Big 12 Tournament – Semifinals
Sprint Center – Kansas City, Missouri

#7 Baylor Bears vs #3 Texas Longhorns
Friday, March 14, 2014, 9:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Opening Line: Texas pick
Current Line: Baylor -1 1/2
Opening Total: 138 1/2
Current Total: 138 1/2
Opening Money Line: Texas -110 / Baylor -110
Current Money Line: Baylor -125 / Texas +105

Texas and Baylor meet in the   Big 12 Semifinals Friday night.
Texas and Baylor meet in the Big 12 Semifinals Friday night.

The 23-9 Texas Longhorns and 23-10 Baylor Bears meet in Friday’s Big 12 semifinal. The winner will face either Kansas or Iowa State in Saturday’s Championship game. Texas tied for third in the conference at 11-7 with Iowa State, and the Longhorns were awarded the #3 seed via the tiebreaker. Texas beat #6 seed West Virginia 66-49 in yesterday’s quarterfinal.

Baylor went 9-9 in conference and tied with West Virginia for sixth in the conference. Baylor is the #7 seed in the tournament. The Bears beat #10 seed TCU 76-68 in Wednesday’s first round, and then upset #2 seed Oklahoma 78-73 in yesterday’s quarters. In the Oklahoma game Baylor took a 21 point second half lead and held off a furious Sooner rally.

Texas leads the series against Baylor 160-82 all-time, but the two teams are tied 2-2 in the Big 12 tournament. The Longhorns took both meetings with the Bears this season, 74-60 in Waco January 25 and 74-69 in Austin February 26. That was the only loss in the last 10 games for Baylor, who has won 5 straight games since then.

Baylor is coached by Scott Drew. The Bears have losses to Syracuse in the Maui Invitational, at Iowa State, at Texas Tech, Oklahoma twice, Kansas twice, Texas twice,  and West Virginia. Baylor has key wins over Colorado in Dallas, South Carolina, Dayton in Maui, Kentucky in Arlington, TX, Oral Roberts, TCU twice, Oklahoma State twice, Kansas State, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Iowa State, and at Kansas State. Baylor went 12-1 in non-conference play. The Bears are 12-12-2 ATS and the total is 13-11-1 this season.

Baylor is outscoring teams 75-68 this season. The Bears are shooting 45.2% from the field and 38.9% from 3 point range. Baylor is #28 nationally  in three point shooting. The Bears are #294 nationally out of 351 teams in free throw shooting making 66.1% from the line. Baylor opponents are shooting 42.3% from the field and 35.4% from 3 point range. The Bears average 39.5 rebounds per game and opponents average 28.6 per game. Baylor is #15 in rebounding and #48 in rebounds allowed nationally. The Bears average 15.5 assists, 12.8 turnovers, 5.3 steals and 5.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 14.6 assists, 10.7 turnovers, 5.6 steals and 3 blocks per game.

Baylor forward Cory Jefferson averages 13 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Guard Brady Heslip averages 11.4 points and 1.3 rebounds per game.   Center Isaiah Austin averages 10.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 3.2 blocks per game. Guard Kenny Chery averages 10.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. He is questionable with an ankle injury. Forward Taurean Prince averages 7.1 points and 3 rebounds per game. Forward Rico Gathers averages 7 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1 steal per game. Gary Franklin, Royce O’Neale, and Ish Wainwright will also get significant minutes in the rotation. Guard Allerik Freeman is out indefinitely with a broken hand, and hasn’t played yet this season.

Texas is coached by Rick Barnes. The Longhorns have losses to BYU in Kansas City, Michigan St, Oklahoma twice, at Oklahoma State, at Kansas State, at Iowa State, at Kansas, and at Texas Tech. Texas has key wins over DePaul in Kansas City, Vanderbilt, at North Carolina, Rice, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas, Oklahoma State West Virginia twice, Baylor twice and TCU twice. Texas is 14-15 ATS and the total is 13-15-1 this season.

Texas is outscoring teams 75-70 this season. The Longhorns are shooting 43.1% from the field and 32% from 3 point range. Texas makes 66.8% of their free throws. The Longhorns are #272 out of 351 teams in free throw shooting. Texas opponents are shooting 40.1% from the field and 34% from 3 point range. Texas is #31 in opponents’ field goal percentage.  The Longhorns average 42.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.2 per game. Texas is #4 nationally in rebounding. The Longhorns average 12.4 assists, 12.5 turnovers, 6 steals, and 6 blocks per game. Texas opponents average 12.5 assists, 11.7 turnovers, 6.5 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.

Texas forward Jonathan Holmes averages 13 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard Javan Felix averages 12 points, 1.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Isaiah Taylor averages 12.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.  Center Cameron Ridley averages 11.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. Guard Demarcus Holland averages 7.3 points, 5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Demarcus Croaker, Connor Lammert, Prince Ibeh, and Kendal Yancy will also get significant time in the rotation.

Baylor is 5-1-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 4-1 in Friday games, overall and in Big 12 games, and 5-2-1 after a straight up win. The over is 4-1-1 in the last games in this series.

Texas is 5-1 ATS in neutral site games, 5-12-1 after a cover, 2-5 overall, and in Big 12 games, 1-5 after a straight up win, and 0-5 in Friday games. The underdog is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 games in this series. The Longhorns have covered the last 4 games against the Bears.

This should be a very physical game between two longtime rivals. Texas won both meetings this season, but Baylor is playing much better right now. Baylor is playing their third game in 3 nights, so fatigue could be a factor. I think the Bears overcome that and move on to the final though.

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