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Baylor Bears forward Flo Thamba (0) goes up for a rebound during the men's Jimmy V Classic college basketball game between the Baylor Bears and Illinois Fighting Illini. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)
February 16th, 2022
The seventh-ranked Baylor Bears travel to Lubbock to face the 11th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders in a pivotal Big 12 showdown.
Let's examine this intriguing matchup, beginning with the latest betting odds available.
After their destruction last weekend at the hands of Kansas, the Bears bounced back nicely last week with a pair of double-digit wins. The latter came against Texas in an 80-63 victory that saw them break off a 12-0 run in the first half and never look back, as they handed Chris Beard his worst defeat as Texas head coach.
However, the win came at a cost, with big man Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua suffering a gruesome left knee injury in the first half. Tchatchoua underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair multiple ligaments, and Baylor now must replace his team-leading 6.8 rebounds per game.
He and Flo Thamba split the pivot duties, and now the Bears will have to ask more of Thamba. Thamba responded on Saturday, posting his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds in a career-high 30 minutes, adding four blocks to boot.
Baylor big man Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua has surgery to repair multiple ligaments in his left knee from a gruesome injury that ended his season for the seventh-ranked and reigning national champion Bears.by @hawkaptexas https://t.co/taAHCJMK9j— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) February 15, 2022
Baylor big man Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua has surgery to repair multiple ligaments in his left knee from a gruesome injury that ended his season for the seventh-ranked and reigning national champion Bears.by @hawkaptexas https://t.co/taAHCJMK9j
Adam Flagler also had a terrific game, hitting four 3-pointers en route to a 20-point day, while James Akinjo flirted with a triple-double as he registered 15 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. Baylor shot 50% from the floor and outrebounded Texas by 10 in a dominant showing.
Sharpshooter LJ Cryer was expected to return, but missed his fifth straight game since injuring his foot against Kansas State on Jan. 25. He is questionable yet again for the game with Texas Tech, and his return would greatly help their 3-point shooting woes of late. Over their last four games, the Bears have made just 25 of their 84 3-point attempts.
The Red Raiders haven't avoided the injury bug, either. Kevin McCullar suffered a freak ankle injury in their 82-69 win over TCU this weekend, after landing on the foot of TCU coach Jamie Dixon following a 3-point attempt late in the game. Texas Tech’s best perimeter defender and one of their primary ballhandlers, McCullar will be a game-time decision, per head coach Mark Adams.
Texas Tech HC Mark Adams said it's a "coin flip" as to whether Kevin McCullar plays against Baylor tomorrow. Sounds like he will be a true game-time decision. https://t.co/0Vz5zeFe4b— Austin Massey (@austinmassey247) February 15, 2022
Texas Tech HC Mark Adams said it's a "coin flip" as to whether Kevin McCullar plays against Baylor tomorrow. Sounds like he will be a true game-time decision. https://t.co/0Vz5zeFe4b
As for the game, Texas Tech actually trailed by 13 at one point in the opening stages. However, they used a 15-5 run to cut the gap to just three going into halftime, then opened the second half with a 9-0 run to take the lead.
They would extend that run even further, outscoring TCU 29-5 out of halftime to blow the game open and roll to the win. It moved them to 16-0 at home this season, versus just a 4-6 record away.
Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 20 points in the win and Bryson Williams added 16. However, they were outrebounded on the offensive glass 13-7, a concern for the team ranked 10th in the nation with just 38% shooting allowed. They are also top five in adjusted defensive efficiency, and top 15 in points allowed with just 60 per game.
Texas Tech will hope to repeat the early meeting between these two teams, when they handed then top-ranked Baylor their first loss of the season and ended Baylor’s 21-game winning streak. Their 65-62 win came with McCullar hobbled following another ankle injury, and without Shannon, who sat out the first half of the season, and was helped by Baylor shooting just 41% from the floor.
Losing Tchatchoua is a big blow to the Bears, as his 54 offensive rebounds are just nine fewer than Thamba’s team-high 63. They will need someone to step up and fill that gap, especially against a Texas Tech team that does not allow many second chances.
Meanwhile, McCullar’s loss would be felt, but Texas Tech knows they can win even without him at full strength, and their home crowd should provide them some extra energy. If Cryer is unable to go for Baylor, however, it makes it even tougher for the Bears to score from the outside against a team whose defense is swarming.
With the numerous missing pieces, or limited ones at best, I don’t see the score for this game being much higher than it was in the first meeting. The total has gone Under in five of the last seven meetings between these two teams at United Supermarkets Arena, a trend I like to continue. Take the Under, and if you are looking for a Same Game Combo, pair it with a close Texas Tech win to more than double your money.
Score prediction: Texas Tech 68, Baylor 66
Our predictive engine is calling for Baylor to win outright and cover the spread.
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