Unfortunately, Texas will face just that when the Longhorns travel to Waco tonight to take on the Baylor Bears (18-11, 7-8). Lacedarius Dunn will close out his collegiate regular season and attempt to put what has been a poor season at times behind him. That's the problem with natural scorers — their slumps last until, well, they don't.
The Longhorns found out just how devastating Dunn can be when they beat the Bears in Austin 69-60 earlier this season. Dunn and running mate Perry Jones combined for 31 points as the Bears cut a 16-point halftime deficit to a three point game at 63-60. The Longhorns held on for the victory, but the Bears will likely be high on confidence based on the near comeback, and may start off hot because of the emotions that stem from Senior Night.
But if the Bears want to come out with a win, they'd do better to leave their matchup zone in the locker room. Texas built its big advantage against Baylor's zone, which has struggled to keep opponents down this year. The Bears lack the overall athleticism and physicality to both stop opponents from getting shots against the zone, and they've struggled to rebound out of it.
Once the Bears shifted to a man-to-man look, they held the Longhorns to 6-for-22 shooting, paving the way for the comeback. Baylor will surely start off in the zone, particularly to try and protect players like Perry Jones and J'mison Morgan from getting into foul trouble.
But coach Scott Drew will need to get them out of it quicker if things start to turn against the Bears.
Baylor has the pieces — counting rugged forward Quincy Acy, lanky wing Anthony Jones and point guard A.J. Walton — to make this one interesting. Still, if the Longhorns can pull this one out — and Ken Pomeroy predicts that they have a 78 percent chance of doing so — they can build positive momentum heading into the Big 12 Tournament.