The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ferrell Center (10,284) -- Waco, Texas. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Texas 16-2, Baylor 15-2. Away Record: Texas 6-3, Baylor 2-6. Neutral Record: Texas 2-1, Baylor 1-3. Conference Record: Texas 12-3, Baylor 7-8. Series Record: Texas leads, 156-79.
Texas owns a 12-3 record against Big 12 opposition, one game back of first- place Kansas (13-2) heading into this finale. The Jayhawks will play Missouri at noon today, so the Longhorns will know before this game tips if they still have a shot at a share of the conference title. Texas has been idle since last Saturday when it fell to Kansas State by a 75-70 final. That was the second straight loss for the 'Horns and the third in the last four games overall, so there is certainly reason for concern among fans of the team.
As for Baylor, it has lost three of its last four games to fall to 7-8 in Big 12 action, a record that overshadows the team's 18-11 overall mark. On Tuesday, the Bears fell to Oklahoma State in a 71-60 final on the road, but they now return home where they are 15-2 at home.
Texas owns a commanding 156-79 series lead over Baylor, which includes a 69-60 victory over the Bears in Austin earlier this season.
Through 30 outings, Texas is generating 75.7 ppg while limiting opponents to 61.2 ppg on 37.6 percent shooting from the field. There are four double-digit scorers in the fold for the Longhorns, and sophomore Jordan Hamilton continues to pace the club with 18.7 ppg on the strength of his 40.2 percent shooting from three-point range. Hamilton is also pulling down 7.5 rpg, which ranks him second behind the 7.6 rpg amassed by Tristan Thompson (13.3 ppg). Gary Johnson checks in with 11.9 ppg, and Cory Joseph adds 10.6 ppg. Thompson scored 26 points and ripped down 10 rebounds against Kansas State last time out, numbers that are all the more impressive when considering the fact that he is just a freshman. Hamilton tallied 14 points against the Wildcats, but Texas shot just 33.8 percent from the field, the most obvious reason for the loss.
Baylor is scoring 70.1 ppg this season while limiting opponents to 63.4 ppg on 41.7 percent field goal efficiency, but the Bears are being outscored by more than two points per contest in league games alone. The man to watch for Baylor is LaceDarius Dunn, as he is averaging 19.7 ppg. Perry Jones III checks in with 14.1 ppg and 7.0 rpg, and he is shooting 55.4 percent from the field. Quincy Acy, a 52.9 percent shooter, provides 12.3 ppg and 7.6 rpg. Acy scored 13 points off the bench on 5-of-5 shooting against Oklahoma State on Tuesday, and he ripped down nine rebounds as well. Unfortunately, Dunn played one of the worst games of his collegiate career, scoring a mere seven points while shooting 2-of-16 from the floor. As a team, Baylor connected on only 35.2 percent of its field goal attempts, and the offensive inefficiency was the major reason for the setback.
Expect the Bears to put up a fight at home tonight, but give a narrow edge to Texas. Thompson and Hamilton will do just enough to edge Dunn and company.