Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#645 Arizona 145 vs.
#646 Baylor -5
Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 12:00pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes

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#645 University of Arizona
#646 Baylor University
9-0
6-1
13-19
19-13-2
14-17-1
18-15-1
70
71
68
67

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No. 12 Arizona takes on No. 18 Baylor in a key non-conference matchup from Waco, Tx. These teams met last season with the Bears winning on the road, 58-49.

The Wildcats are off to an undefeated start, having defeated Wake Forest, 73-66 in their last game on Dec. 1 at the Wooden Legacy Tournament. But this will be their first true road game. Baylor has just one loss and that came against Washington on Nov. 8 (67-64). They are coming off a 78-46 win over UMES at home on Dec. 3.

Wildcats win title

Arizona is coming off a disappointing 17-15 season and no postseason tournament, with some dark clouds following the program (NCAA issues). This season, they opened with a pretty favorable schedule, playing six straight games at home, before playing in the Wooden Legacy from Anaheim. But give Sean Miller's team credit as they took care of business, especially in a dominating win over Illinois on No. 10, 90-69.

Defense was key as Arizona beat the Demon Deacons in the Wooden Legacy final by seven. They held Wake Forest to just 32% shooting from the field, holding star guard Brandon Childress to just 19 points on 4-of-18 shooting.

The Wildcats are dealing with some injuries as freshman Josh Green (13ppg, 44% FG), played 32 minutes in the Wake Forest win, but is listed as questionable due to illness. Forward Stone Gettings (5.4ppg) is out indefinitely due to a concussion and guard Nico Mannion (15.3pg, 5.8apg) is questionable due to a back injury. Manning scored nine points and dished out seven assists against Wake. Guard Dylan Smith (9.2ppg) led Arizona with 20 points, while Chase Jeter added 17 points and seven boards against the Deacons.

On the season, Arizona averages 87.1 points per game and allows just 64.8. They are allowing teams to shoot just 38.7% from the field and 33.2% from beyond the arc.

The Butler did it

Jared Butler scored 20 points to lead the Bears to an easy 78-46 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 3. On Nov. 24, Butler put up 22 points in Baylor's biggest win of the season, an 87-78 win over Villanova at home.

In their win over UMES, Baylor shot just 59% from the line and turned it over 12 times, but still won by 32. The Bears shot just 40% from the field but dominated the boards, 52-35. That was not a big surprise when a Big 12 school meets a mid-major that they would have the size advantage and own the glass. That didn't happen in the previous game against Villanova (27-25 edge for Nova), but the Bears turned it over just five times and played a near-flawless game.

"First game back from Thanksgiving break, you know you're going to be a little rusty in some areas," said head coach Scott Drew, on the BaylorBears.com website, "but really pleased with the overall performance. We got a lead, we built on the game, the game was never in jeopardy. We did do some things well and executed on some things and hopefully got some rust off from the Thanksgiving break."

On the season, Baylor averages 79.9 points per game on 45.2% shooting (39.6% 3pt). They allow just 61.9 points on 40.7% shooting (33.8% 3pt). Forward Tristan Clark (6ppg, 4rpg) missed the UMES game and is listed as questionable due to a foot injury.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

The Bears are extremely well-coached by Scott Drew and you have to beat them. They usually don't beat themselves with turnovers and poor mistakes. This is a big test, though they already passed the test with a big win over Villanova. Arizona is finally going on the road and this is a tough test for them. This not like playing in an early season tournament. Having a few injuries and players who are not 100% also will not help. Take the Bears at home as they should pull away at the end.

Prediction: Baylor

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Last year's game was an easy under. That might be asking a lot to hold Arizona to under 50, but the Bears certainly have the capability with their defense to hold them under 60 points. Neither team is playing that fast in terms of pace and both are holding teams to 40% or less from the field. Against weaker opposition, both teams have played overs, but against Wake, Arizona put up just 73 points, which  was their second-least amount of the season.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!