Texas-Baylor Preview

With a victory in its regular-season finale, Baylor will earn a

first-round bye in the Big 12 tournament. A loss, though, could

drop the Bears to as low as the No. 6 seed.

Baylor tries to win its third straight over Texas and snap an

11-game home losing streak in the series Saturday.

The 21st-ranked Bears (23-6, 10-5) are tied with Missouri and

No. 23 Texas A&M for third in the conference. The top four

seeds receive a bye in the tournament, and a victory over Texas

(23-7, 9-6) would give Baylor the third seed and move it 18 games

above .500 for the first time since 1947-48.

The Bears, though, could drop to the No. 6 seed if they can’t

post their first victory in Waco against the Longhorns since Feb.

21, 1998.

Following that loss, Texas won the next 24 in this series before

falling to the ninth-seeded Bears 76-70 last March 13 in the

semifinals of the Big 12 tournament. Baylor won its second straight

over the Longhorns and snapped an 11-game slide in Austin with an

80-77 overtime victory Jan. 30.

Senior guard Tweety Carter, who scored 27 points in that

matchup, had 18 with nine assists as the Bears won their third

straight Tuesday, 86-68 at Texas Tech. Carter leads the Big 12 with

6.2 assists per game.

“All year long Tweety’s given us what we need,” coach Scott Drew

said after Baylor set a single-season school record for Big 12

victories. “If we needed scoring, he gives us scoring. If we need

assists, he takes care of the ball.”

Ekpe Udoh has taken care of the paint for the Bears. The junior

transfer is among the nation’s leaders with 4.2 blocks per game and

is averaging 9.9 rebounds, second in the Big 12 to Texas’ Damion

James (10.3).

Udoh had seven points, six rebounds and three blocks in January

against Texas while James scored 20 with a career-high 19 boards

before fouling out in the final minute of overtime.

The Longhorns were ranked sixth in that matchup and were the

nation’s No. 1 team for the first time in program history Jan. 11,

but they have since become the first team since Alabama in 2003 to

go from first to unranked in the same season.

“The thing that may be the best thing for us is we find

ourselves at the most important time,” coach Rick Barnes said. “I

said I’d give it all up to be playing our best basketball at the

end of the year (and) give up the (early wins).”

Texas, which beat Oklahoma 87-76 on Monday, could earn the

fourth seed in the Big 12 tournament with a win and some help but

will be the No. 6 seed if it loses to Baylor.

Bears junior guard LaceDarius Dunn, who is among the nation’s

leaders with 96 3-pointers, is second in the Big 12 with 18.8

points per game. He is averaging 20.3 as Baylor has won 14 of 15 at

the Ferrell Center this season.

Texas leads the all-time series 155-77.