2014 NCAA Tournament
West Region – Second Round
AT&T Center – San Antonio, Texas
#11 Nebraska Cornhuskers vs #6 Baylor Bears
Friday, March 21, 2014, 12:40 pm Eastern, TV: truTV
Opening Line: Baylor -3 1/2
Current Line: Baylor -3 1/2
Opening Total: 131 1/2
Current Total: 131
Opening Money Line: Baylor -175 / Nebraska +150
Current Money Line: Baylor -175 / Nebraska +150
The Baylor Bears began the season 12-1, but then went 2-8 to begin Big 12 play. The Bears have since gone 10-2 in their last 12 games to go 24-11 on the season. Baylor is the #6 seed in the West region in the NCAA Tournament. The Bears open up play Friday against a familiar foe as they take on #11 seed 19-12 Nebraska in San Antonio. Baylor and Nebraska were conference rivals in the Big 12 before Nebraska left for the Big Ten several seasons ago. The winner of Baylor and Nebraska will play the winner of #3 Creighton and #14 Louisiana in the third round Sunday.
Nebraska went 11-7 in the Big Ten and were alone in fourth place. The Cornhuskers lost to Ohio State 71-67 in the Big Ten quarterfinals. Nebraska has gone 8-2 in their last 10 games. The Cornhuskers went 3-8 against NCAA Tournament teams this season. Nebraska has never won an NCAA tournament game in six previous appearances, the last in 1998.
Baylor went 9-9 in the Big 12 and tied for sixth with West Virginia. Baylor was seeded 7th in the Big 12 Tournament, and made it all the way to the Championship game. The Bears beat Oklahoma in the quarters and Texas in the semifinals, before losing 74-65 to Iowa State in the championship game. Baylor went 11-9 against NCAA Tournament teams this season. The Bears are making their 7th NCAA Tournament appearance, including the fourth in the last seven seasons. Baylor missed the tournament last season but won the NIT.
Nebraska leads the series 12-10 against Baylor but the Bears have won 5 of the last 6 game against the Cornhuskers. The teams haven’t played since Nebraska left for the Big Ten in 2011. Baylor won the last meeting 74-70 in Waco. Baylor is 3-1 all-time against Nebraska in neutral site games, including 2-1 in the Big 12 tournament.
Nebraska is coached by Tim Miles. The Cornhuskers have losses to Massachusetts and UAB in a tournament in Charleston, Creighton, Cincinnati, Iowa, Ohio State twice, Michigan twice, Purdue, Penn State and at Illinois. Nebraska has key wins over Georgia in Charleston, Northern Illinois, Miami-(FL), Arkansas State, Ohio State, Minnesota, Indiana twice, Northwestern twice, Illinois, at Michigan State, Penn State. Purdue and Wisconsin. Nebraska is 20-10 ATS and the total is 12-18 this season.
Nebraska is outscoring teams 67-65 this season. The Cornhuskers are shooting 42.7% from the field and 33.9% from 3 point range. Nebraska makes 71.9% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 42% from the field and 31.9% from 3 point range. The Cornhuskers average 34.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 31.8 per game. Nebraska averages 9.6 assists, 10.9 turnovers, 6.9 steals and 3 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.1 assists, 12.4 turnovers, 5.2 steals and 3.2 blocks per game.
Forward Terran Petteway averages 18.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Shavon Shields averages 12.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. Guard Deverell Biggs averages 9.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1 steal per game. He was kicked off the team in the middle of the season.Forward Walter Pitchford averages 9.5 points, and 4.7 rebounds per game. Guard Ray Gallegos averages 7 points, 2 rebounds and 1.4 assists. Forward Leslee Smith averages 5.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. Guard Tai Webster averages 4.1 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. David Rivers and Benny Parker will also get significant time in the rotation.
Baylor is coached by Scott Drew. The Bears have losses to Syracuse in the Maui Invitational, Iowa State twice, 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 twice, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Texas. The Bears are 13-13-2 ATS and the total is 14-12-1 this season.
Baylor is outscoring teams 76-68 this season. The Bears are shooting 45.6% from the field and 39% from 3 point range. Baylor is #28 nationally in three point shooting. The Bears are #264 nationally out of 351 teams in free throw shooting making 67.2% from the line. Baylor opponents are shooting 42.4% from the field and 36.3% from 3 point range. Baylor is #281 nationally in 3 point defense. The Bears average 38.7 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.1 per game. Baylor is #26 in rebounding and #61 in rebounds allowed nationally. The Bears average 15 assists, 11.8 turnovers, 5.2 steals and 5.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 15.1 assists, 10.4 turnovers, 5.4 steals and 2.7 blocks per game.
Baylor forward Cory Jefferson averages 13.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard Brady Heslip averages 11.8 points and 1.3 rebounds per game. Guard Kenny Chery averages 11.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 5 assists per game. Center Isaiah Austin averages 11 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 3.3 blocks per game. Forward Royce O’Neale averages 7.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Forward Taurean Prince averages 6.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Forward Rico Gathers averages 6.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1 steal per game. Gary Franklin, 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.
Nebraska is 6-1 ATS after a cover, 14-3 overall, 13-3 against teams with winning records, 20-6-1 after a straight up loss, and 1-4 against Big 12 teams. The underdog is 5-0 ATS in the last 5 games in this series.
Baylor is 5-1 ATS in Friday games, 4-1 after failing to cover, and against teams with winning records, 8-3-1 overall, and 9-4 in non-conference games. The under is 5-2 in the last 7 games in this series.
Baylor has a huge advantage getting to play in nearby San Antonio, roughly 180 miles from the Baylor campus in Waco. Nebraska sometimes struggles on offense, but they play good defense. Baylor’s strength is rebounding. I think Baylor wins a close game against the game Cornhuskers.