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Big 12 action tips today as the Baylor Bears visit Oklahoma State.
Baylor enters this afternoon’s matchup riding a 13 game unbeaten run which sees the program ranked #2 nationally. Wins vs. Villanova, Arizona, Butler, Texas Tech and Kansas boost the Golden Bears’ impressive record. Meanwhile, following a 7-0 start host Oklahoma State has dropped four straight, and seven of nine to sit 9-7 and 0-4 in conference play.
Ken Pomeroy’s latest ranking place Baylor #2 and Oklahoma State #75. Last season, the Bears split their two-game series vs. Oklahoma State with each side claiming home victory.
Defense sparks Baylor’s nationally noted successAfter a second-round NCAA Tournament appearance, defense has propelled Baylor past several nationally-ranked programs as Scott Drew’s men stand among college basketball’s top squads. Overall, the Bears hold opponents to 57.9 ppg (#6 nationally) and allow just 38-30 shooting while keeping a controlled #257 pace. Off to a 4-0 conference start, the Bears harassed Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas and Iowa State into sub-55 point outings.
Power Rankings: Winners of 13 straight, Baylor takes the top spot in our college hoops Top 25 https://t.co/Nk9z6FYmb0— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 16, 2020
Lockdown perimeter defense and balanced offense stamped Baylor’s recent 68-55 win vs. .500 Big 12 foe Iowa State. Jared Butler (19), Davion Mitchell (17), Freddie Gillespie (14) and Mark Vital (11) each added two-way contributions as the Bears’ unbeaten streak continued. Butler (16.9) and MaCio Teague (13.8) pace Baylor’s 73.3 ppg average. When adjusted, the Bears offer NCAA basketball’s #64 offense and #10 defense.
Baylor is 4-0 away this season.
Oklahoma State seeks offensive renewal after sluggish conference startFollowing a credible 9-3 non conference run which included wins vs. Yale, Syracuse, Ole Miss and Houston, the Cowboys have fallen into old habits to begin conference play. Standing 0-4 this season vs. Big 12 opposition, the early promise shown by Michael Boynton’s men has faded into shade of last year’s 12-20 (5-13 conference) run. Overall, Oklahoma State adds 66.2 ppg (#303 NCAA), that number falls to an anemic 48.8 in conference action.
Most recently, Texas stifled the Cowboys’ offense, limiting OK State to 40-40 shooting while netting 15 of 32 three-point attempts to cap a 76-64 win. Defensively, behind a deliberate pace, the Cowboys hold opponents to 63.1 ppg. However, difficulties scoring have plagued OSU’s recent bids. Overall, Lindy Waters (11.8) and Cameron McGriff (9.6) lead an Oklahoma State roster devoid of effective scoring.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Given Baylor’s overall aptitude and momentum, I’ll take the Bears to win a 14th straight contest. Oklahoma State’s scoring issues are real and undercut any momentum their upper-tier defense provides. That stated, with each team employing measured paces, expect the Bears’ starting group to wear down host Oklahoma State on both ends before claiming another win while making a case for top national honors among college basketball’s talent-laden field.
Full-Game Total Pick
As stated throughout, each side prefers cautious offense as opposed to the new trend of jamming possessions into a 40-minute frame. Further, both Baylor and Oklahoma State value defensive execution, and have the numbers to prove it. With those factors in mind, and with Oklahoma State holding home court, look for an Under performance today as the Cowboys look to end one of the nation’s most impressive current winning streaks. When the final horn sounds, take the Under.