#6 Longhorns (22-3, 10-1) cruised to another Big 12 victory over the Baylor Bears (2-9), 90-63. Not even the insertion of the second string with a good four minutes left in the game could prevent the Horns from covering the spread this time. Austin basketball fans stayed away last night. It could have been the opponent or it could have been Valentine's Day. I don't really care. I sat row B mid court. For those of you not familiar with the Erwin Center, row B is closer to the court than row 1. We sat along side people more familiar with the Bush/Cheney Pioneer team than with the Horns team.
Daniel Gibson dominated Baylor in our last contest going for 37 points against a collapsing 2-3 zone. This time the Bears tried to play more man to man defense and take away the outside shooting. Mission accomplished, sort of. Instead of dominating from behind the arc, we dominated from the paint. The starting Longhorn frontcourt scored 56 points. Lamarcus Aldridge was again aggressive on the low blocks. Aldridge had his third straight double-double and thirteen of the season with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Brad Buckman added a double-double of his own with 12 points and 11 rebounds in just 23 minutes of play because of foul trouble. Last, PJ Tucker had a complete game of his own. Tucker's line 21 points (9/10 FTs), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and only 2 turnovers. I will say it again: PJ Tucker should be 1st Team All American.
Texas started the game on a 20-3 run and led by 24 at the break. Once again, the Horns won with solid defense and dominant rebounding. For the game, Baylor shot under 40% and were outrebounded 42-26. I will give Baylor and Scott Drew some credit though. Baylor was playing only their eleventh game of the year. They have some talent and never quit playing hard. Sophomore guard, Aaron Bruce is an excellent shooter and a fabulous passer. He could easily play at Texas. Baylor also has three decent freshmen in Jerrells, Dugat, and Rogers, not to mention extremely raw 7'0" freshman center, Mamadou Diene. They will be much more competitive next season.
Texas now faces back to back road games that will define their conference season. I still think Texas should win out but it won't be easy. The Horns travel to Stillwater to face the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon and then take on Kansas State in Manhattan on Wednesday night. If we win those two, a Saturday night showdown in Austin with Kansas could decide the conference title.
Last, don't worry about the latest bracket projections. The Big East will beat itself up over the next two weeks. If Texas wins out, they will be a #1 seed. Even if they go 14-2 and win the conference, they could still be a #1.