Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#755 Baylor 131.5 vs.
#756 Florida -2
Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 8:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#755 Baylor University
#756 University of Florida
16-1
12-6
11-6
8-10
7-10
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72
73
58
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The Florida Gators will try to get back on the winning track on Saturday evening as they get set to host the No. 1-ranked Baylor Bears at the O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

The Gators and Bears will take a momentary break from conference play to do battle in the Big 12-SEC Challenge this weekend. Baylor hasn’t lost a game since Nov. 8 and the Bears enter this matchup riding an impressive 15-game winning streak. Meanwhile, Florida is in desperate need of a quality win after posting a mediocre 5-7 overall record in Tier-A and Tier-B games this year. Can Florida earn the upset at home against the top-ranked Bears on Saturday night?

Bears still undefeated in Big 12 play

Baylor remained undefeated in Big 12 Conference play on Monday with a narrow 61-57 victory at home over Oklahoma. MaCio Teague scored 16 points while Davion Mitchell added 13 points in the win, as the Bears led by as many as 11 points before holding off a late surge by the Sooners.

Scott Drew’s squad comes into the weekend ranked No. 5 in the latest KenPom rankings and No. 1 in the AP Top-25 Polls after winning 16 of their first 17 games of the year. Baylor has scored 111.3 points per 100 possessions for the season (27th in the NCAA) but that number has plummeted to just 102.0 points per 100 possessions versus league opponents (2nd in the Big 12). Baylor’s two biggest strengths on offense are taking care of the basketball and generating second-chance points. They have turned the ball over just 17.1 percent of the time during conference play (2nd in the Big 12) while sporting an offensive rebounding rate of 38.3 percent (2nd in the Big 12). However, Baylor has shot just 43.9 percent from inside the arc (9th in the Big 12) and only 30.5 percent from 3-point range (8th in the Big 12) through six league games.

On defense, Baylor has given up 86.6 points per 100 possessions for the season (4th in the NCAA) and only 87.3 points per 100 possessions versus Big 12 opponents (2nd in the Big 12). They rank as the second-best effective field goal percentage in the conference at 43.7 percent but have also benefited from opponents shooting just 58.3 percent from the free-throw line during conference play.

Florida snaps win streak vs. LSU

Florida snapped a two-game win streak with a tough 84-82 loss on the road against LSU on Tuesday night. Noah Locke and Keyontae Johnson scored 16 points apiece while Andrew Nembhard and Kerry Blackshear each chipped in 15 points in the loss. Nembhard also handed out 10 assists on the night but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback. Florida trailed b 11 points with 3:24 remaining before closing the game on a 20-11 run.

Michael White has guided the Gators to a 12-6 overall record, including a 4-2 mark in SEC play, and they come into the weekend slotted at No. 29 in the latest KenPom rankings. Florida’s date with No. 1 Baylor comes at the right time, as the Gators are in desperate need of a quality win after going 0-5 in Tier-A games. Florida has scored 111.7 points per 100 possessions for the season (22nd in the NCAA), and they’ve been even more efficient during conference play, averaging 112.5 points per 100 possessions versus SEC opponents (2nd in the SEC). Through six conference games, Florida leads the SEC in effective field goal percentage (53.5 percent), 2-point shooting (51.9 percent), and 3-point shooting (37.7 percent).

However, getting stops on the defensive end has been a different kind of challenge altogether for the Gators, who have watched the defensive rating jump by 9.4 points per 100 possessions during conference play. Florida has allowed only 94.0 points per 100 possessions for the season but it has given up 103.4 points per 100 possessions against SEC opponents (9th in the SEC).

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Florida is one of the best offensive teams in the SEC and they have enough talent to compete with nearly any team in the country. However, the Gators have slipped defensively during conference play and Baylor comes into this matchup playing with plenty of confidence. Each of Baylor’s last six wins has come against top-100 opponents and three of those games have been decided by double-digits. Florida does most of its damage from inside the arc on offense and Baylor has limited opponents to just 41.5 percent shooting from 2-point range on the year (7th in the NCAA). Take the Bears to cover the number on the road in this Big 12-SEC Challenge game on Saturday night.

Prediction: Baylor Bears

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Both of these teams like to slow the pace down on offense and Baylor ranks among the stingiest defensive teams in the nation. The Bears rank 281st in adjusted tempo and 269th in average possession length on offense. Meanwhile, Florida ranks 289th in adjusted tempo and 203rd in average possession length on offense, so we should end up in a fairly slow-paced game here. Baylor ranks fourth in the country in defensive efficiency and seventh in 2-point defense, which is where Florida does most of its damage on offense. The Bears have also struggled on offense since the start of league play, so I’ll take my chances with the under in this Big 12-SEC Challenge matchup on Saturday.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.