Stat Guy: Why the Big Monday Matchup with Baylor is a must win for Texas

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Texas held its fate in its own hands going into Saturday. A win over the Cowboys would’ve given the Longhorns five straight wins going into the matchup against Baylor, and an outside shot at the fourth seed in the Big 12 Championships depending on how Iowa State finished the season. Now a loss to Oklahoma State has Texas in a tough spot, and in need of a big win in order to secure a favorable postseason berth.

Big time points
Oklahoma State’s 90 points is the most Texas has given up since the third game of the season where it allowed 100 points to Oregon State. Texas gave up at 84 points in consecutive losses to Kansas State and Missouri, but has other wise been defensively sound in conference play, holding most opponents to under 70 points. After being in the top three in the conference in scoring defense last season, this young Texas team is in the middle of the pack in defense this season, allowing 65 points per game. Baylor is the third ranked scoring team in the Big 12 this season, averaging 74 points per game this season. The Bears will be hungry to get back on track after suffering their first loss to a team other than Missouri or Kansas this season.

Padding the resume
The loss to Oklahoma State puts Texas postseason bid in jeopardy. If the season were to end today, then the Longhorns would be one of the last teams to make the field, and may even have to be one of the first four teams to play their way into the field of 64. A loss to Baylor and Kansas would give Texas 12 losses on the season, and would limit it to a .500 record in conference play at best. Texas also risks losing ground in the Big 12 Championship if it doesn’t win at least three of its next four games. Oklahoma State is one game behind the Longhorns in the Big 12 standings, and has an easier final four games than the Longhorns with two winnable road games, and home games against Texas A&M and Kansas. If the Cowboys go 3-1 over their final four games, they would tie Texas in the standings, with the loser of the tiebreaker not getting the bye in the conference championship. In order for Texas to guarantee themselves a first round bye, then they have to win three of their final four games, which means that this game against Baylor is a must win.

A win over the Bears would likely give Texas 20 wins, with four of those coming against RPI top 50 teams(Temple, Iowa State, Kansas State, and Baylor), a first round bye in the conference championship, and would almost guarantee a bid into the NCAA Tournament as well as avoiding the play-in game.

The Favorite?
The unranked Longhorns are 5-5 over their last ten games, but are still the 2.5 point favorites to win. They have yet to beat a ranked opponent in six tries this season. If Texas loses to the Bears on Monday, then it would have to make a deep run in the Big 12 Championships in order to ensure its stop in the NCAA Tournament, or else it will be looking forward to a spot in the NIT.