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The Baylor Bears go West Searching for a win over Texas Tech

The 22nd ranked Baylor Bears hit the road again to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Tech was one of the most surprising teams in the nation after an 11-1 start, but have lost three straight in Big 12 play.

The Baylor Bears look to extend their 3-game winning streak against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock.  With wins over Oklahoma State, Iowa State, and TCU, the Bears are tied for 2nd in the Big 12.  The Red Raiders got off to astrong start in 2015, but have lost three games in a row to fall to 11-4.  

MEDIA INFORMATION

No. 22/22 Baylor (13-3, 3-1) at rv/rv Texas Tech (11-4, 1-3)

Date

Jan. 16, 2016 | 2:00 p.m. CT

Location

Lubbock, Texas | United Supermarkets Arena (15,000)

TV

 Fox Sports Southwest and Fox Sports Go

Radio

ESPN Central Texas

Online Audio

Listen Online

Live Stats

Gametracker

Twitter @BaylorMBB

STORYLINES

  • Saturday is the 131st series meeting.?Baylor is 54-76 in the all-time series, including 15-9 under Scott Drew. 
  • Baylor is 13-4 against Texas Tech since 2008, including wins in 5 of its last 6 trips to Lubbock. 
  • Baylor is just 1-3 in true road games in 2015-16.  
  • Lubbock has been unkind to the Bears, with a 17-46 record. 
  • However, the Bears have won 6 of the last 8 games in Lubbock.

KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Make Tech 3-Point Shooters - The Red Raiders offense has been one of the most improved in college basketball from last year to this year.  They ranked just 224th in offensive effeciency according to KenPom last season, but have jumped to 86th in 2015-16.  The biggest reason for their growth has been their ability to hit mid-range shots.  Their true shooting percentage has increased from 49.7% to 54.2%. They are taking fewer 3-pointers and more mid-range jump shots and it is working.  They have also improved their free throw shooting almost 10%, from 64% to 73%.  This went from one of the worst all-around shooting teams in the nation to a solid one over the off season.  However, they still struggle behind the arc, making just 30.4% of their 3-pointers, which is the 43rd worst rate in the nation. Baylor needs to give the Red Raiders room behind the arc, and hope that their poor shooting trends continue. 

2. Fast Start - In the Bears three road losses to start the season, they faced big deficits within the first 5-10 minutes of action. Even against Iowa State, they got off to a poor start, but it was still an improvement.  The Red Raiders are not as good as Oregon, Texas A&M, Kansas and Iowa State. The crowd in Lubbock is rowdy and ready to jump all over the visiting team. A fast start will help neutralize the crowd and get the Bears into their comfort zone earlier.  

3. Get Prince Going - Taurean Prince is one of the most unique players in the nation, a 6-foot-9 wing who has the skill to play guard and the size to play down in the post.  He is a matchup nightmare for teams that lack a bigger small forward.  Tech relies on two players to man the small forward position.  Devaugntah Williams is the starter and is much more of an offensive threat. At 6-foot-4, he gives up 5 inches to Prince.  Backup Justin Gray plays around 20 minutes per game, as Williams will slide to the shooting guard spot when Toddrich Gotcher goes to the bench.  Gray is a bit taller at 6-foot-6, but still gives up 10-15 pounds to Prince.  This should be a game where we see Prince dominate physically from the small forward positoin. The Bears have used Prince more in that role in bigger lineups with Terry Maston and Rico Gathers or Jonathan Motley manning the two post positions.  

WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME?

In the regular season finale, the Bears rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half to a 77-74 win. Taurean Prince came off the bench and scored 24 points, with senior guard Kenny Chery adding 18. It was a successful senior night for Chery and fellow senior Royce O'Neale. Tech shot over 55% from the floor, but the Bears were even better at 56%. 

PREDICTIONS

KenPom.com – Baylor loses 73-72 (49% chance for win)

Massey.com – Baylor loses 72-70 (46% chance for win)

Tim Watkins, BearsIllustrated.com - Baylor wins 71-67

The matchups lean towards the Bears, who are playing their best basketball of the year right now. Their upset win over Iowa State in Ames proves that this team can win on the road. A quick start and some timely stops late will get the Bears their 4th Big 12 win in a row.  


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