Texas is in a huge slump. The most concerning part of the slump is the lack of defense (Texas' trademark this season). Unlike offense, defense should be a constant. Yes, a team could be on an incredible hot streak and hit tough shots, but you should never allow as many open looks as Texas has in three of its last four games (all losses). I'm not sure if the Longhorns' struggles on offense are leading to a lot of run-outs for the opposition, or if it's just a lack of confidence. Regardless of the cause, the Longhorns need to address the problem ASAP.
Baylor is looking down the barrel of the NIT right now. The Bears have lost three of their last four, including ugly losses to Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. A win definitely does not guarantee an at-large, but it at least keeps the Bears in the conversation for one. Even a weak bubble won't save the Bears if they don't prove they can win against decent teams down the stretch. Most teams would play with desperation in a similar situation, but I'm not sure Baylor has that killer instinct. Perry Jones III is incredibly talented, but he's just not a primary option (especially with LaceDarius Dunn using up so many possessions). This team really misses that leader, who can facilitate closing out games (even if that means dishing the ball to an open Dunn). Right now, that's clearly missing.
Look for Baylor to try its zone--which has been very unsuccessful against teams that shoot well. With Texas' recent shooting struggles the zone would probably be more effective than against Kansas, which spreads the floor as well as any team in the country. The key for Baylor is controlling Jordan Hamilton. It's pretty obvious when he struggles, Texas can't win games (see its last game against Kansas State where Tristan Thompson was unstoppable). Really, Baylor is very similar with Dunn (Jones often plays very well in losses). But if Baylor can force Hamilton to shoot low efficiency shots, it will at least have a chance for the upset.
On Texas' side the Longhorns need to stop the bleeding. They should start by trying to get Jordan Hamilton's shot back. He needs to take the ball inside or behind the Baylor zone (the biggest hole in the coverage) where he can either get fouled or go to the line. If Hamilton's shot still isn't falling, the Longhorns need to adapt. Part of the problem against Kansas State was Texas didn't continue getting the ball inside to Tristan Thompson, who was virtually unstoppable. If the same is true against Baylor, why mess with a good thing?
The game is at 8:00 PM on ESPN. Prediction: Texas 74 - Baylor 65
** Please include this text at the bottom of your post** PLAY THE MARCH TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AND YOU COULD WIN A TRIP FOR TWO TO LAS VEGAS! LOOK FOR THE CODE INSIDE SPECIALLY-MARKED PACKAGES 12-PACKS OF BUD LIGHT ENTER CODE AT FACEBOOOK.COM/BUDLIGHT ----- No Purchase Necessary. Open to U.S. residents (except CA & TX) 21+. For a chance to win a Grand or First Prize, Game Period 1 begins 3PM CST on 2/14 & ends 3PM CDT on 3/18. For a chance to win a First Prize only, Game Period 2 begins 3:00:01PM CDT on 3/18 & ends 3PM CDT on 4/30. To participate, obtain a Code from inside specially-marked packages of Bud Light beer or to request a Code without purchase, visit budlight.com/freecode during a Game Period. Limit one (1) free Code request/day/person or email address. To play, text HOOPS to BEERS (23377) & follow prompts or visit budlight.com/freecode & follow instructions. See Official Rules inside package or at budlight.com/freecode for complete details. Void in CA, TX & where prohibited. Enjoy Responsibly – ©2011 Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Bud Light® Beer, St. Louis, MO