(3) Baylor vs. (11) Colorado: South Region
Baylor 28-7, 12-6 Big 12 (At large)
Colorado 24-11, 11-7 Pac-12 (Conference Tournament Champions)
Time: 8:40 p.m. Saturday
Location: The Pit in Albuquerque
First round results
Baylor def. South Dakota State 68-60
Colorado def. UNLV 68-64
Winner will face: (2) Duke, (7) Notre Dame, (10) Xavier or (15) Lehigh, Friday at Atlanta
Baylor No. 9 AP; No. 10 ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll
Line: -7½ (O/U 133)
Players to Watch
Baylor: F Quincy Acy, 6-7 Sr. (11.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 56.7% FG); G Pierre Jackson, 5-10 Jr. (13.3 ppg, 5.8 apg, 1.7 spg); F Perry Jones III, 6-11 So. (14 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 50.3% FG). With Perry Jones and Quincy Acy struggling, Jackson came up big in Baylor’s first-round win over South Dakota State. The junior college transfer scored 18 points on 6-of-11 from the field, along with two assists and two steals.
Colorado: F Andre Roberson, 6-7 So. (11.6 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 1.9 bpg); G Carlon Brown, 6-5 Sr. (12.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.9 apg); F Austin Dufault, 6-9 Sr. (10.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 48.6% FG). Roberson is a nice offensive option, a strong defensive player and a rebounding machine. He had 12 points and 16 rebounds to help Colorado advance over SDSU on Thursday.
Why Each Team Dangerous
Baylor: Baylor is long, lean and athletic. The Bears are a nightmare matchup for just about anybody. The Bears are a good offensive team. They are shooting 47 percent from the floor and 38.1 percent from the 3-point line in scoring 74.7 points per game. They make seven 3s a game, and their offensive efficiency ranks 23rd in the nation. The Bears rebound well. They get 12.2 offensive rebounds per game and out-board teams by 5.2 per game. With Jackson at the point, Baylor has a solid 1.07-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Colorado: The Buffaloes came ready to play and pounced on UNLV early Thursday. Colorado made 7-of-12 3s and held the Rebels to 23-of-71 from the field. Colorado’s defense is the reason it is in this tournament. In four Pac-12 tourney games, the Buffaloes held teams to 38.8 percent from the floor, including holding Arizona to 18-of-49 in the Pac-12 title game. Colorado forces 12.4 turnovers per game. They’re also strong on the boards, out-rebounding opponents by 3.4 per game.
Why Each Team is Vulnerable
Baylor: The Bears aren’t nearly aggressive enough. They have a size advantage on nearly every team in the country, yet they seem to prefer taking jump shots. Shot selection has been a serious issue all season. The Bears shot just 23-for-52 and attempted 20 3-point shots against an average Jackrabbit defense. They turn the ball over nearly 14 times per game, which could be an issue against a strong defensive Colorado team. They have turned the ball over at least nine times in 11 straight games and had 11 or more in nine of those 11 games.
Colorado: The Buffs really struggle on offense at times. Their offensive efficiency ranks 167th in the nation and they turn the ball over more than 13 times and give up 6.2 steals per contest. They have negative assist-to-turnover ratio and turnover margin. Those aren’t good signs against an athletic Bear squad.
The Bottom Line: I think Baylor will probably win, but I don’t even trust them to do that after Thursday’s performance. So I’ll take the points. But my advice is avoid a team as inconsistent as the Bears, especially against a good defensive team.
The Pick: Baylor 67, Colorado 61
Greg Against the Spread This Season: 206-158-6 (Through Thursday, March 16)