When the Texas Longhorns host the No. 1 Baylor Bears on Monday evening for the program’s second straight Big Monday appearance, the Longhorns will likely be without junior guard Jase Febres (knee) and freshman forward Kai Jones (ankle), who were both injured on Saturday against the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Sophomore forward Gerald Liddell (back) is also out indefinitely, so Texas will be short-handed on Monday against the nation’s top team.
Baylor enters the game riding a 20-game winning streak and the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA committee’s first top-16 reveal.
A balanced team, the Bears boast the nation’s No. 4 defense as head coach Scott Drew has moved away from largely playing zone defense to man-to-man defense that protects the rim and forces turnovers. In the previous meeting between the two teams, Baylor limited Texas to 44 points, the fewest the Longhorns have scored under head coach Shaka Smart and the fewest Smart’s teams have ever scored in a game.
The Longhorns limited the final margin to 15 points by playing strong enough defense that the Bears only shot 31.7 percent from the field and 29.4 percent from three-point range. Baylor guard Jared Butler, the team’s leading scorer, was 3-of-9 shooting overall and 1-of-6 shooting from three-point range, so his impact on the game was limited. The team’s second-leading scorer, guard MaCio Teague made up for it with 21 points on 9-of-9 shooting from the free-throw line.
With all the misses by the Bears, the nation’s No. 4 offensive rebounding team was able to secure 19 of those shots to give the Bears 11 more shot attempts than the Longhorns.
For Texas to have any shot at winning this game, it will need to significantly narrow that margin and perform more consistently on the offensive end, including shooting better from three-point range. The Horns only made 3-of-16 shots from beyond the arc, with Febres and sophomore guard Andrew Jones making only one of their 10 combined attempts.
The game tips off at 8 p.m. Central. KenPom.com gives Texas a 28-percent chance of winning with a projected margin of 66-60 in favor of Baylor. The Longhorns are looking for the program’s first win against an AP No. 1 opponent.