NO. 6 BAYLOR (21-3, 8-3 Big 12) AT NO. 4 MISSOURI (22-2, 9-2 Big 12)
Time: 1:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. CT)
TV: Altitude, Big 12 Network, ESPN Full Court
Location: Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo.
Baylor 6 (No. 2 Big 12)
Missouri 9 (No. 3 Big 12)
Line: Missouri -6 (145 o/u)
Baylor Players to Watch: F Perry Jones III, 6-11 So. (14.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 53.6% FG); G Pierre Jackson, 5-10 Jr. (12.9 ppg, 5.8 apg, 47.3% 3s); F Quincy Acy, 6-7 Sr. (12.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 58% FG). Acy earned his 15th career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds in Wednesday’s 68-54 loss to No. 10 Kansas. Acy, who was 3-for-7 from the field and 5-for-8 from the foul line, also had two steals and a block, and five of his boards came on the offensive end.
Missouri Players to Watch: G Marcus Denmon, 6-3 Sr. (18 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.3 apg); F Ricardo Ratliffe, 6-8 Sr. (14.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 75.5% FG); G Kim English, 6-6 Sr. (14 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 47.4% 3s). Denmon, who is the reigning Big 12 Player of the Week, has 1,589 career points and needs just nine points to surpass Jon Sundvold to become the Tigers’ 10th all-time leading scorer.
Storylines: Missouri is tied atop the Big 12 standings with Kansas after winning four straight, including a 74-71 win over Jayhawks on Feb. 4 and a 71-68 victory at Oklahoma on Monday. Baylor fell a game behind the Tigers and Jayhawks with its second home loss of the season on Wednesday.
Key Stats: Missouri shot 54.5 percent from the field in its 89-88 win at Baylor on Jan. 21. Despite being the much smaller team, the Tigers out-rebounded the Bears 27-24. Missouri leads the Big 12 in 10 different statistical categories: points per game (80.5), scoring margin (plus-16.2), free throw percentage (76.7), field goal percentage (50.1), assist (15.9), steals (9.1), turnover margin (plus-5.1) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.49-to-1). Baylor is second to Missouri in scoring at 75.8 points per game. The Bears also lead the league in 3-point percentage at 39.5 percent and blocked shots (5.7). The Bears are 7-1 in true road games and 10-1 overall away from home this season. The lone loss came Jan. 16 in their first loss to Kansas, 92-74. The Tigers are 13-0 at home this season. Their last home loss was in last year’s regular-season finale, 70-66 to then-No. 2 Kansas.
The Bottom Line: Although it didn’t play out that way in the first meeting, this would appear to be a matchup nightmare for the Tigers. Baylor has a significant size advantage and is athletic enough to stick with Missouri’s quick, sharp-shooting guards. If Baylor coach Scott Drew makes the adjustments, the Bears could pull off a minor upset.
The Pick: Baylor 78, Missouri 76