We have a big in-state matchup in the Big 12 on Wednesday night as we see the Baylor Bears travel to Austin to take on the Texas Longhorns.
TV Schedule: Wednesday, February 27, 9 PM ET, ESPN2
Location: Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas
The Baylor Bears (18-9, 9-5) have been playing really good basketball during conference play which has led to them getting off of the bubble, for now, barring an epic collapse to end the season they will be playing in the NCAA Tournament. They still have seeding to play for though and they are still capable of getting into the 5/6 seed range while they are likely in the 7/8 range currently.
The Texas Longhorns (15-12, 7-7) on the other end are still very much on the bubble as they head into the final couple of weeks of the season. Their record isn’t great but they have plenty of good wins against teams such as North Carolina and Kansas. If they pick up a couple of wins the rest of the way then they will get in and picking up a win over Baylor is just what they need to get them headed back in the right direction after a tough road loss against Oklahoma.
These two have already squared off once this season in Austin, Texas which ended with the Longhorns picking up an 84-72 win. In that game, Makai Mason was battling with a foot injury which has limited him at times over the past month. Kerwin Roach II led to way for Texas with 21 points but he has since been suspended indefinitely. It has been reported that his season likely isn’t over but it would be a surprise to see him in action Wednesday night.
For Baylor to win this game they will need Mason to produce more than he has recently. After missing the blowout loss at Texas Tech he has scored just 18 total points on 4-25 shooting. Somehow, despite his struggles, they were able to pick up two wins, including winning on the road against Iowa State. The rest of the team has really been stepping up their play recently. In the win over Iowa State Jared Butler finished with 17 points, six assist rebounds, and five assists with five made three-pointers.
Without Kerwin Roach, the Texas offense really struggled in their 69-67 loss on the road against Oklahoma. They were behind by as much as 17 points early on in the 2nd half. They really settled in this game as more than half of their shot attempts came from three-point range. All five of their starters chipped in with double figures but nobody was able to step up and lead offensively. Jase Febres is this team’s three-point shooter and he really let it fly in that game as he was 5-15 from beyond the arc.
Texas will be more prepared for this game without Roach than they were for the Oklahoma game. If they’re able to shut down Mason that will give them a chance. The way that Jared Butler, Mario Kegler and the rest of the Bears are playing it’s tough to pick against them. The Ferrell Center isn’t an extremely tough place to play but you have to like Baylor’s chances of getting the win considering how well they’ve played recently. It will be a competitive game but Texas’ offensive struggles will continue.