Texas (8-5) at Baylor (8-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ferrell Center (10,284) -- Waco, Texas. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Texas 7-0, Baylor 5-2. Away Record: Texas 0-1, Baylor 1-1. Neutral Record: Texas 1-4, Baylor 2-1. Conference Record: Texas 0-0, Baylor 0-0. Series Record: Texas leads, 157-81.
GAME NOTES: Lone Star State rivals square off in Waco on Saturday afternoon, as the Baylor Bears play host to the Texas Longhorns in a Big 12 Conference showdown.
In the storied history between these two programs, Texas has nearly doubled up Baylor, 157-81. However, the Bears captured both contests last season.
Texas has logged an 8-5 record this season, but the majority of its success has come in Austin where it has yet to lose. In six matchups on the road or on a neutral floor, however, the team is a combined 1-5.
The Longhorns most recently took on another intrastate rival, defeating Rice at home last Saturday, 57-41. Their offensive output was lackluster for sure, making just 36.7 percent of their field goal attempts, but they held Rice to an even worse 31.9 percent and held a dominating 18-4 advantage at the foul line. Sheldon McClellan paced the squad with 14 points and nine rebounds, while Julien Lewis scored 12 points and Javan Felix tallied seven points, seven assists and six rebounds.
Baylor has been able to avoid prolonged periods of poor play, as it has yet to lose back-to-back games this season. It has been especially solid at the Ferrell Center, winning five of seven home matchups.
The Bears had won three in a row prior to the Dec. 28 bout at nationally- ranked Gonzaga where it suffered a 94-87 loss. They did their best in keeping up with the potent Bulldogs, making good on 51.6 percent of their field goal attempts, including 10-of-24 from beyond the arc, but it wasn't enough as they allowed a season-high in points. Pierre Jackson was outstanding in defeat, recording 26 points and six assists, although he was plagued by seven turnovers. Isaiah Austin was a big factor in the frontcourt with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Corey Jefferson chipped in with 13 points, seven boards and two blocks.
Texas has struggled putting up points all season long, making only 40.2 percent of its field goal attempts for 63.9 ppg, but it is still able to cling to a plus-5.7 scoring margin thanks to the nation's best field goal percentage defense (.337). McClellan has been spotty at best shooting the ball (.360), but thanks to a stellar .849 free throw percentage, he is able to tally a team-high 15.2 ppg. Lewis in the only other player to average double figures with his 12.0 ppg, and while Felix shoots a woeful 30.2 percent from the field, he dishes out 6.5 apg (tops in the Big 12) and come up with 1.6 spg.
Baylor's success has come on the back of its high-powered offensive attack, as the team ranks second in the conference in field goal percentage (.482) and third in scoring (77.8 ppg). Jackson is one of the nation's premiere guards, as he sits second in the league in assists (6.3 apg) and first in scoring (19.6 ppg). Austin (14.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg) and Jefferson (13.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 2.4 bpg) man the paint, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a better frontcourt duo in the Big 12.
If UT's play at the defensive end is somehow able to slow down the Bears' trio of potent scoring weapons, it will have a great shot at picking up the road win. That said, Baylor has defended its home floor well this season, and with a clutch shooter like Jackson free to do his thing, expect the Bears to prevail.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Baylor 70, Texas 67
01/05 10:33:07 ET