- The No. 2 Baylor Bears (9-0, 2-0 Big 12) travel to Norman to take on the Oklahoma Sooners (6-2, 2-1 Big 12) Wednesday, Jan. 6, at 9:00 pm ET
- The Bears are coming off a hard-fought 76-65 road victory Saturday against Iowa State, while the Sooners got a season-high 29 points from Umoja Gibson in a 75-71 win over No. 9 West Virginia Saturday
- Read below for odds, analysis, and our best bet for this matchup
The No. 2 Baylor Bears (9-0, 2-0 Big 12) will try to remain undefeated Wednesday, Jan. 6 when they host the dangerous Oklahoma Sooners (6-2, 2-1 Big 12) in Waco. Tip is set for 9:00 p.m. ET inside the Ferrell Center.
Head coach Scott Drew’s club scratched out a 76-65 road win over Iowa State Saturday in a game that saw the nation’s best 3-point shooting team held without a 3-pointer in the first half for the first time all season. But junior guard Jared Butler came alive in the second half, scoring a game-high 21 to help the Bears
Meanwhile, Lon Kruger’s squad knocked off No. 9 WVU 75-71 Saturday thanks to eight 3-pointers from junior guard Umoja Gibson on his way to a season-high 29 points. The victory was the Sooners’ third straight over the Mountaineers and marked the fourth time in the last seven outings OU has beaten a ranked opponent. But Baylor is still a pretty big favorite over Oklahoma Wednesday.
Oklahoma vs #2 Baylor Odds
|Oklahoma||+11.5 (-110)||+610||O 151.5 (-106)|
|Baylor||-11.5 (-110)||-900||U 151.15 (-114)|
Odds taken Jan. 5 at FanDuel
So Far, So Good
Baylor got a scare Saturday in Ames, but passed its first major conference test with flying colors. The second-ranked Bears had been dominant this season through their first eight games, outscoring opponents by a national-best 32.8 points per game on average. But pesky Iowa State wouldn’t go away at Hilton Coliseum.
Butler hit a dagger 3 from the left wing with just over a minute left as Baylor escaped with an 11-point win.
The Bears have been ranked No. 2 all season in the AP poll and have been rated anywhere between No. 1 and No. 3 by KenPom through the first six weeks of the 2020-21 campaign. This is a team that has legitimate national championship aspirations, even with its relatively soft strength of schedule (287th out of 340 Division I teams). But the Bears beat then-No. 5 Illinois 82-69 on Dec. 2 and had completely blown out most of its opponents prior to the somewhat-narrow victory over the Cyclones.
But Drew knows Big 12 play is where his team will prove its worth this season. The conference possesses five teams in the top-20 in KenPom’s ratings — including the surprising Texas Longhorns at No. 6. The Bears have four players averaging in double-digits, including Butler at 16 points per game. Baylor got a wake-up call of sorts at Iowa State. It will be interesting to see how the program responds Wednesday.
The Sooners are 1-1 in their Big 12 play-opening gauntlet. Saturday’s home win over the Mountaineers followed a 69-67 loss in Norman to Texas Tech Dec. 22. And it doesn’t get any easier for Kruger’s club after Wednesday’s tilt with Baylor. OU then travels to No. 6 Kansas Saturday. That’s four consecutive foes ranked in the top-15! You have to figure if the Sooners can come out of this stretch with a .500 record, it will serve them well in the eyes of the NCAA Selection Committee come tourney time. The victory over WVU Saturday was a big part of that.
According to KenPom’s current ratings, the Sooners are right where they should be. Their No. 44 rating is good for sixth-best in the conference — which is where coaches had them in the preseason poll. The team features four players averaging in double-digits, including Waco native Gibson. OU’s leading scorer is senior guard Austin Reaves, who is putting up 15.5 points per game. He’s one of four seniors averaging at least seven points a night. That experience will serve Oklahoma well on the road Wednesday.
History on Baylor’s Side
If you like trends, you like Baylor in this spot. The Bears have beaten the Sooners five straight times and in seven of the last eight meetings. Baylor has been a ranking darling so far in the 2020-21 season — and added another accolade to its resume this week.
✌️ Baylor is No. 2 in the first official NCAA NET Rankings of 2020-21.
?: https://t.co/0IJu1fl8iS#SicEm ? | #TimeIsNow ? pic.twitter.com/RSjq0AWcdX
— Baylor Basketball (@BaylorMBB) January 4, 2021
The Sooners will be prepared for the Bears and could very well pull off an upset. But I like Baylor to defend its home court Wednesday and scratch out another victory.
The pick: Baylor -11.5 (-110)