Baylor Bears host the surging Texas Longhorns for Big Monday

Winners of 5 of their last 6 games, the Texas Longhorns come to Waco to face off against the 13th ranked Baylor Bears, who have 7 of their last 8 games.

The Baylor Bears, newly ranked 13th in the nation, host long-time rival the Texas Longhorns Monday night.  Both teams come in on a hot streak, winning a combined 12 of their last 14 games.  Can the Bears continue their winning ways over the Longhorns, or will Shaka Smart turn the tide on Scott Drew and the Bears in his first chance?


No. 13 Baylor (17-4, 6-2) vs. -/rv Texas (14-7, 5-3)


Feb. 1, 2016 | 8:00 p.m. CT


Waco, Texas | Ferrell Center (10,284)


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  • Monday is the 246th all-time series meeting, the most-played rivalry in Baylor history, dating back to 1905-06. 
  • Baylor is 9-6 in its last 15 games against UT after snapping a 24-game losing streak in the series in 2009. 
  • Baylor has won 16 of its last 17 home games, with the lone loss against No. 1 Oklahoma on Jan. 23. 
  • Baylor is 17-0 this season when it has taken the lead at any point in the 2nd half of a game. 
  • All 4 of Baylor's losses have been against current top-12 RPI teams (at Oregon, at TAMU, at Kansas, vs. OU). Texas is ranked 20th. 
  • Baylor is 39-6 against in-state opponents since the start of the 2011-12 season, including 16-2 since 2014-15. 


1. Hit the Glass - The worst part about the Longhorns on either side of the court is their defensive rebounding. They allow an offensive rebound on 32.5% of chances, the 255th rate in the nation. That is a huge number, especially against a Baylor team that is 5th in offensive rebound rate at 40.7%. The bears, led by Rico Gathers, are an elite offensive rebounding team, collecting a rebound on 2 of every 5 missed shots.  It powers their offense, and should they have a miss, this should be a game where they can rack of the second chance points.  Not one of their defenders profiles to be an above average rebounder with Cameron Ridley out with a broken foot.  

Their starting center has been limited to just 11 games, but was averaging over 10 rebounds per game and carrying them on the glass.  With him gone, Connor Lammert and Prince Ibeh have been thrust into larger roles.  Neither average over 6 rebounds per game, with Lammert more of an exterior threat and Ibeh usually only playing around 20 minutes per game due to foul trouble. 

2.  Hear those Whistles - It wouldn't be a Big 12 game without the lovely sound of inconsistent whistles and off calls.  Call it a fact of life these days.  With The Longhorns post depth hurting with the loss of Ridley, and the over-aggressivness of Prince Ibeh, the Bears have had success in getting to the bench of the Longhorns in the past.  Both big men for the Texas, Prince Ibeh and backup Shaquille Cleare, are consistently in foul trouble. It is more surpising to see Ibeh with no foul trouble late in either half, as he averages 7.6 fouls per 40-minutes of action. For those who might think that is high, you are correct, as you only get 5-fouls per game.  

Cleare is only marginally better, averaging 6.7 fouls per 40-minutes.  To compare, the highest rate on the Bears is 5.9 by Jonathan Motley, who also happens to be half of the post duo that excels at drawing fouls.  Motley draws fouls at a very good rate, 4.9 per 4-minutes, the 491st best in the nation.  Rico Gathers is even better at 5.8 (205th best in the nation).  With two primary post players strong at drawing fouls, and two defensive players that excel at fouling, this could be a busy day at the line for Gathers and Motley.  

Even better for the Bears, the Longhorns are a bad free throw shooting team, shooting under 64% as a team. The Bears make over 73% of their shots from the charity stripe, the 55th best in the nation.  Making this a free throw contest would be a big win for the Bears, due to their better depth and free throw shooting. 

3.  Speed the Game up - This feels odd to think about a Shaka Smart team.  Those VCU teams were known for a harassing tempo,finishing in the top80 the past three years in possessions. In fact, even with the quicker pace of the 30-second shot clock and a focus on increasing possessions, the Longhorns average only 66.3 per game (312th in the nation), which is actually fewer than any Shaka Smart team since 2012.  It is incredibly slower than the over 70 possessions Smart's 2013-14 VCU team averaged.  

The Longhorns are just not built to play that way yet. They have lumbering post players, and their defensive options are not good at pressuring the ball and forcing turnovers. They are just 124th in the nation in forced turnover %, and 250th in steal percentage.  Baylor has been very good at avoiding turnovers, especially at home.  If the Longhorns show a full court press, it will mean more fast break opportunities for the Bears, if they can beat the press.  They have been deadly against the press the last few years.  The Bears don't run much, but are very good when they do.  Picking up the tempo and running back at the Longhorns will energize the team, and hopefull the blackout crowd for the Bears.  


KenPom - Bears win 72-67 (71% chance for win)

Massey - Bears win 74-67 (75% chance for win)

Tim Watkins, - Baylor wins 71-67

The Bears are one of a few teams that can say they don't have a single bad loss.  All four of their losses are to top-12 RPI teams, with three of those on the road. The lone home loss is to top-ranked Oklahoma.  The Longhorns are not a bad team, in fact they are on the fringes of the Top-25, and have been playing much better the last few weeks. However, they are not a top-12 team either. 

The Bears zone should do well against a team that prefers to penetrate the paint rather than hit 3-pointers.  They should also be able to dominate the glass, and rack up the 2nd chance points, which is a key to avoiding long scoring droughts.  The Bears win this one, and it might be tighter than some Baylor fans want it to be for a while. 

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