January 21, 2011 – By Scott
Going undefeated in college basketball is a tough task and heading into this week, only three teams had an opportunity to achieve this feat. The list included No. 1 Syracuse, No. 3 Baylor and No. 12 Murray State. Now, only two undefeated teams remain.
Baylor was handed their first loss of the season on Monday as they fell on the road to No. 7 Kansas 92-74. How they respond could be key to the remainder of the season and it all starts on Saturday with another tough test as the Bears host No. 5 Missouri at 2:00 pm ET on ESPN.
The Tigers also have just one loss on the year and that came back on January 7 when they lost on the road at then-No. 23 Kansas State 75-59. Since that loss, they have won three in a row including Monday night’s 70-51 win over Texas A&M.
Both teams are 4-1 in Big 12 play and the importance of this game is well known. Not only are the 3rd and 5th ranked teams in the country meeting up, but the winner moves ahead in conference play.
“Obviously, everyone knows the magnitude of the game, but no one game is going to dictate our season,” coach Frank Haith said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity, and I think our guys are excited for that opportunity.”
Missouri brings in the 4th ranked scoring offense in the country and are getting 83.1 points per game. Marcus Denmon leads the team in scoring with 17.8 points per game. The Tigers also are shooting better than 50% from the field on the year. Defensively, Missouri is allowing just 62.3 points per game but will be tested against a good scoring Bears squad.
Baylor is getting 77.7 points per game and they are led by Perry Jones III. Jones is averaging 14.2 per outing and also leads the team in rebounds with 7.5 per game. Defensively, they have fared slightly better that their Saturday opponent and are giving up just 61.4.
The teams have split their last four matchups,but Baylor has won three straight in Waco against the Tigers.
NCAA College Basketball Betting Lines have labeled Baylor as 4 1/2 point favorites at home against Missouri. The OVER/UNDER in points is set at 150.