Texas Tech vs. Baylor NCAA Basketball Preview and Best Bet

Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua #23 of the Baylor Bears. Ron Jenkins/Getty Images/AFP

Tuesday nights are made for Big 12 basketball, and a big battle down in the Lone Star State is part of our free NCAA basketball picks lineup this week as the Texas Tech Red Raiders travel to take on the top-ranked Baylor Bears. 

Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Baylor Bears 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Ferrell Center 

While the Big East and Big Ten might have the numbers according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, it’s the Big 12 that begins the second week of January as the top conference according to the latest RPI rankings. Texas Tech and Baylor are a big part of that and makeup half of the conference quartet slotting into the first 19 spots on the BPI. The Bears and Red Raiders also rank No. 1 and No. 18 on the Ken Pomeroy chart. 

Baylor begins the week on the right side of NCAAB scores in 21 consecutive games, the nation’s longest winning streak that dates to the first round of last year’s Big Dance. Texas Tech has split its previous four matchups against ranked teams, and the Red Raiders will be looking for their first road win of the campaign.  

Tech Could Be Without Top 2 Scorers Again 

Though it might be a matchup between two sides ranked in the latest AP and coaches polls, the spread at the sportsbooks suggests a one-sided affair instead of a tight contest. No. 1 Baylor is laying 12 against No. 19 Texas Tech, with 135-136 for the total.  

Mark Adams watched his bunch post a nice little upset at home last Saturday as the Red Raiders handled Kansas in a 75-67 final. In his first season at Lubbock. Adams’ crew took the lead for good with about 4½ minutes left in the first half and eventually built a 14-point advantage over the Jayhawks in the second half. 

In addition to the thrill that comes with beating Kansas, Adams was also happy to see his team pull it off without his top two scorers. It looks like Texas Tech will be asked to repeat the effort again on Tuesday. Terrence Shannon Jr. leads the Red Raiders with a 14.3 scoring average and is out indefinitely with a back injury. 

Kevin McCullar also missed the win over Kansas, the second game in a row for the junior to not play. McCullar, who is second on the team averaging 13.5 PPG, was in a walking boot on the sidelines and is officially questionable to face Baylor.  

Bears Survive Scare in Cowtown 

Scott Drew thought his team’s win streak might be coming to an end last Saturday in Ft. Worth where turnovers plagued the Bears in the first half of their game against TCU. Favored by 10 at some sportsbooks, Baylor rallied in the second half when Adam Flagler netted 18 of his team-high 22 for the 76-64 decision. 

The Bears were able to make up for the turnovers – along with being outrebounded – by finding the net with regularity. Baylor shot nearly 53% overall (30-57), and canned 13-of-27 (48%) from 3-point range to beat the Horned Frogs. 

Baylor was missing a key member of the rotation most of last Saturday when Jeremy Sochan had to leave the game in the first half with an ankle injury. Primarily used off the bench, Sochan is fifth on the team in minutes (21.9), second in rebounding (5.9), and seventh in scoring (7.9). The 6-9 freshman is listed as questionable to face Texas Tech. 

‘Over’ a Winner Last Three in Waco 

Tuesday marks the fifth consecutive matchup for Baylor to have a top 5 ranking and fourth time in the last five meetings that both sides have been ranked. The Bears have won the last four clashes, covering three of those, and the Red Raiders own an 80-62 advantage in the series that dates to 1937. Totals have split the college basketball odds in the last ten contests. 

Last year’s encounter in Waco was the final regular-season game for the two rivals, and the Bears scored an 88-73 victory that doubled up the 7½-point spread Baylor backers were asked to give up. The Bears have won the last five played at Ferrell Center, with Texas Tech’s last win in Waco coming in the form of a nice little upset in February 2016.  

Two elite defenses going at each other have me eagerly awaiting the tip. In the end, the Red Raiders are simply missing too much offense to keep up with the Bears, and for my college basketball picks, I’m willing to lay the points with my play in this Big 12 showdown. 

NCAAB Pick: Baylor -12 (-110) with Pointsbet