Texas Tech Hosts No. 12 Baylor

The Red Raiders look to upset the Bears 8 p.m. Wednesday at United Spirit Arena. Texas Tech will attempt to snap a three-game losing streak and 34-game skid against ranked opponents. Baylor is looking to bounce back from a 15-point loss at Iowa State.

Texas Tech (8-8, 0-3) versus No. 12 Baylor (13-2, 1-1)

Where: Lubbock, Texas, United Spirit Arena

When: Wednesday, January 15, 8 p.m. (CT)


Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network from Learfield Sports

The Matchup: Although the Baylor Bears are 13-2 and ranked No. 12, the jury is still out on exactly how good Scott Drew's team really is. Certainly, the Bears are good and will make the NCAA tournament with no sweat, but is this a Final Four type team? A legitimate national title contender? The answer is uncertain because Baylor has played a fairly soft schedule so far. The Bears' only truly impressive win—and it is impressive—is their five-point defeat of Kentucky on December 6. Losses have come to a terrific Syracuse squad, and by 15 points at Iowa State.

Unsurprisingly, Baylor looks strong statistically. They are plus 11 in rebounding margin and have three guys who can really clean the glass in Cory Jefferson (nine RPG), Rico Gathers (eight RPG) and Isaiah Austin (six RPG). Jefferson also leads the team in scoring with 14 points per contest, while Austin swats 3.1 shots per game.

The Bears are one of the best 3-point shooting teams in America, knocking down 42 percent of their attempts from deep. They also allow opponents to drain 35 percent of their three-point shots, however.

Baylor is undoubtedly as deep as any team in the Big 12. Nine players play big minutes for Scott Drew, and four (Jefferson, Austin, Brady Heslip and Kenny Chery) average double digits in scoring.

As Texas Tech's season has progressed, the Red Raiders have become more competitive against the better teams but have little to show for their improvement in the win column. Earlier in the year, Tech was getting drubbed by Pitt, Arizona and Arizona State. More recently, they've played LSU, Iowa State, West Virginia and Texas off their feet, only to absorb Ls in each of those games. Obviously, that improvement must continue if Tech is to have any shot against Baylor.

The Red Raiders outshoot their opponents by four percent, outrebound them by four boards per game, and shoot 75 percent from the free throw line. Tech also forces a very respectable 13 turnovers per contest. But the Red Raiders still struggle with perimeter defense, allowing opponents to hit 35 percent from downtown, and only have nine more assists than turnovers on the season.

Tech Player to Watch: Jaye Crockett is Tech's one constant. Other Red Raiders blow hot and cold, but you can always count on Crockett to score and rebound. He averages 14 points and six boards per game, and that has been his average seemingly the entire season.

Baylor Player to Watch: One key for the Red Raiders will be shutting down shooting guard Brady Heslip. The Canadian bomber averages 12 points per game and shoots an amazing 47 percent from three-point land.

Notable: Despite having a very good team this season, and a borderline elite program over the past several seasons, Baylor's home attendance is only 6,000 per game.

Quotable: "As soon as there is a jump ball we [bench players] are waiting for coach to say for us to get in there, and once you get in there you are itching to contribute somehow." —Baylor guard Brady Heslip

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