Smart money on Texas to beat Baylor?

Smart money on Texas to beat Baylor?

Shaka Smart season is officially upon us, with his Longhorns contesting Baylor in the Big 12’s initial quarterfinal this afternoon at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Online sports book BetDSI anticipates a fierce battle between these two rivals, who split their first two meetings of 2016. The Bears, despite two consecutive losses, are slight 1-point favorites.

Texas, though, clearly holds the momentum entering today’s festivities at the Sprint Center. The nation’s 22nd-ranked squad prevailed in three of four down the stretch and is completely in sync with its head coach's up-tempo methodology. (Smart’s VCU bunch won the A-10 tourney a year ago).

On offense, Isaiah Taylor (15.0 points per game and 4.8 assists) runs a tight ship. The Longhorns don’t beat themselves, averaging a mere 9.6 turnovers while creating the expected amount of havoc on the other end of the floor. Senior center Cameron Ridley (12.0) could provide even more of a boost in his first action since Dec. 27.

Who does the public like?

Baylor merely wants to recapture its early-campaign ways after succumbing to No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 8 West Virginia. The presence of senior guard Lester Munson, who averages 6.8 assists, guarantees the Bears will share the ball as well as any team in the conference. Getting the rock to sophomore Johnathan Motley should be prioritized, though, considering they tote a 12-3 mark when he reaches double figures.

Solid postseason showings have become the norm for Baylor (10-7 in league tournaments since 2009). Still, this represents an instance in which you must ride the indisputably hot hand. Shaka and company hook ‘em with relative ease.

THURSDAY NCAA FREE PICK: TEXAS +1

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