CBB Best Bets: Back Baylor, Texas and Memphis

Vaughn Dalzell
·8 min read

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Texas Tech at Baylor (-8)

After a loss to Kansas, Baylor escaped an OT game with WVU and earned a double-digit win against a good Oklahoma State team. I will admit, Baylor has had it rough since their COVID restart. The Bears have played four straight competitive games and this meeting will mark a fifth as they take on Texas Tech.

Baylor beat Tech in Lubbock this season by eight. In Waco (Baylor), the Bears have won four straight at home versus the Red Raiders. Texas Tech has had three games decided by five points or less. Baylor has won three consecutive versus them overall, all by eight or fewer, which is the spread here.

Tech's locked into the No. 6 seed with a loss, sweeping Oklahoma, who is a half-game behind them. Baylor is locked into the No. 1 seed and owning a 20-1 record heading into senior night. Texas Tech could move up with a win and even more with additional help from Texas.

Jared Butler went 2-for-11 from the field (18.8%), 1-of-4 from the free-throw line (25%) and fouled out with seven points in that previous meeting. Lately, he has been balling, and I think he will be a difference.

Since Baylor has come back from their hiatus, Butler has scored 18, 5, 25 and 22 points. The five-point outing was a loss to Kansas, his lowest output of the season and his third single-figure game of the year. He responded with 25 points against West Virginia, the third-most on the season, so safe to say he should find the bottom of the net versus Tech.

Baylor holds the No. 3 offensive efficiency in the country (123.6) and 25th defensively (91.5). Their defense has taken a step back lately, allowing four straight opponents to hit 70 points or more but only one (West Virginia) to reach 80 points.

Tech has won three straight after losing three straight after winning three straight to go 6-3 SU (66.6%). This team has been full of runs this season, to say the least. Texas Tech lost to Baylor, West Virginia and Kansas after stretches of three wins.

Texas Tech locked their three opponents down to 59 points or less, but two were against TCU and Iowa State. Playing versus those two opponents, then taking on Baylor will be a smack in the face. Baylor led 26-18 at half in Lubbock and the last three first-halves have primarily been low scoring, hitting 44, 60 and 39.

I will back the Bears to make a statement win as this the last regular-season home game for seniors MaCio Teague (14.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG) and Mark Vital (5.8 PPG, 5.9 RPG). It will also more than likely mark the same for juniors Jared Butler (17.3 PPG, 5.0 APG, 3.2 RPG) and Davion Mitchell (13.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG) as they are NBA-bound.

Expect Baylor to end the season on a high note and the Bears defense to be too much for the Red Raiders. NBC's Top Trend for this matchup points to Baylor covering and the Under. Baylor is 21-9 ATS (70.0%) in its last 30 games against teams with a winning ML record following a win. The Under is 16-5 (76.2%) in Texas Tech's last 21 games following an ATS win.

Game Pick: Baylor -8 (1u)

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Memphis at Houston (-9.5)

Memphis has won six straight games by six or more points entering this matchup. Memphis is also 9-1 ATS and SU (90%) in the last 10 games, making noise in the betting community. Houston has won three straight and four of the previous five entering this contest.

This is a significant game for both teams as the winner is the No. 2 seed in the American Athletic Conference. Memphis has been lights out defensively this season and lately, they have allowed only one team (Cincinnati) to make more than 20% from three. Memphis ranks second in the country with an 86.2 average adjusted efficiency and second in defensive three-point percentage (26.7%).

Houston is a dominant offensive team and well-rounded defense ranking top 10 in both average offensive and defensive adjusted efficiency. Houston has scored 90, 81 and 98 points in the last three games. Not one team has scored 75 points on Memphis this season. The Tigers are averaging 0.85 points per possession in AAC play (1st).

Houston also ranks second in the country in offensive rebounding percentage (39.6%), while Memphis is 39th in defensive rebounding percentage (23.9%). Memphis has had 32, 28 and 40 defensive rebounds in the last three games apiece. Houston is on a 24-game winning streak and Memphis has not beat a top 10 team since 2014.

The two split last season's series 1-1 with two single-digit games, one being the finale of the regular-season. Houston is 3-2 SU (60%) in the last five games versus Memphis and 5-5 SU (50%) in the last 10. Houston has won by 8, 1, 13, 3 and 7 in that span for a 6.4 average.

Memphis' defense negates a lot of Houston's positives on offense and as long as the Tigers are rebounding, I like the road cover. With the No. 2 seed in the AAC on the line, I expect a single-digit game. I will buy the hook and get the even 10 before the spread lowers.

Game Pick: Memphis +10 (1u)

Texas (-7) at TCU

The mission is clear for Texas. Win here and you are the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Tournament if Baylor beats Tech. The No. 3 seed means a path through Kansas, who is the No. 2 seed, rather than No. 1 Baylor. There are a ton of tournament implications with Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech today, so hang on for this.

Current Big 12 Standings:

No. 3: West Virginia, 11-6

No. 4: Texas, 10-6

No. 5: Oklahoma State, 11-7

No. 6: Texas Tech, 9-7

No. 7: Oklahoma, 9-8

Here (click link) is a chart breaking down by percentages of outcomes, with the most likely outcome being Baylor and Texas both winning (53.1%).

With a Texas and Baylor win, Texas will face Texas Tech. Texas lost to Tech twice this season, so I would gladly back the Longhorns to get revenge this time around. That would set West Virginia up with a rematch versus Oklahoma State.

If Texas loses and Baylor wins, Oklahoma State is the No. 4 seed and Texas the No. 5 seed.

If Texas Tech wins and Texas loses, Texas will slide down to the No. 6 seed and play West Virginia.

Texas will be the No. 5 seed if they lose to TCU and Texas Tech loses to Baylor.

In the Big 12 conference, members that finish 1-6 get a bye. Seeds 7-10 play in the first round on Wednesday.

Texas will get a bye round no matter what, but Texas will likely prefer a shot at Texas Tech, rather than West Virginia or Oklahoma State. Being the No. 3 seed with a statement win or tune-up game over the bottom of the conference (TCU) should be the real goal.

The Longhorns have won four straight and 21 of the last 28 meetings against the Horned Frogs. With a win here, Texas would sweep the regular-season series against TCU for the second straight year. Texas rounds out a four-game road trip in this matchup. Texas has yet to play four straight road games this season but they also are not accustomed to playing three straight and they came away with wins in the past two.

They are 4-4 SU (50%) in the last eight trips to TCU, winning last season after losing three straight. Texas survived 62-61, breaking their cold streak in Fort Worth. This is the most talented Texas team TCU has seen in recent years, but the Longhorns have to play the role today.

TCU continues its stretch against top 25 opponents, now three in three straight games. TCU lost to Texas Tech by 20 and West Virginia by 9. This is TCU's senior night and they have no seniors active on their roster. There is no motivation for them heading into this matchup as they are locked into the No. 8 seed and a matchup with Kansas State and all the implications for Texas. Back the Longhorns.

Game Pick: Texas -7 (1u)