Auburn vs #2 Baylor Route to March Madness

Auburn vs #2 Baylor Route to March Madness

Written by on January 29, 2021

There will be more than a few future NBA players on the court Saturday in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge matchup between unranked but rising Auburn of the SEC and unbeaten No. 2 Baylor of the Big 12, which will be a solid favorite on the NCAAB odds.

How to Bet Auburn at Baylor NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

Series History

Auburn trails the all-time series with Baylor, 4-2, but the two teams have only matched up three times in the last 50 years – 1995, 1996, 2009. The Tigers are 1-1 when facing the Bears on the road all-time.

Why Bet on Auburn? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Tigers (10-7) won for the fourth time in five games Tuesday, 88-82 over No. 12 Missouri. While Missouri led by as many as seven in the second half, Auburn battled back and took the lead for good with 7:34 left on a floater from freshman Sharife Cooper. It was Allen Flanigan’s one-handed slam in the final minutes that proved to be the exclamation point.

With Auburn up seven and just under two minutes remaining, Flanigan took off from midcourt, blew by his defender and threw it down with his left hand.

Cooper had 28 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. The point guard, who missed Auburn’s first 11 contests this season, had his fourth 20-point outing in six career games.

“That’s the best win of the year so far against a nationally ranked team,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. “A really, really good team in Missouri. A veteran team and a team we couldn’t beat last year.”

With 14 points from Chris Moore, eight points apiece from Devan Cambridge and Dylan Cardwell, and contributions from Javon Franklin and Babatunde Akingbola, Auburn outscored Missouri’s bench, 34-22. Auburn matched its season high with 14 blocks on the night. Akingbola led the way with five.

Auburn boasts the ninth-tallest team in the country, averaging 78.7 inches per player – nearly 6-foot-7. Auburn’s average height of 78.7 inches on the 2020-21 roster is the tallest the Tigers have had over the last 15 seasons.

It was the highest-ranked team the Tigers have beaten in the regular season since March 9, 2019 (No. 5 Tennessee, 84-80). It was also the eighth win in their last 11 games against ranked opponents. Auburn is 12-19 vs. the Top 25 under Pearl, while Pearl is 37-44 all-time against ranked teams.

Auburn is 2-3 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge in its history but has won its last two. The Tigers won at TCU in 2017 and vs. Iowa State inside Auburn Arena in 2020.

Why Bet on Baylor? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Baylor (15-0) trashed Kansas State 107-59 on Wednesday. After on Dec. 19 becoming the first opponent since 1992 to score 100 points at Kansas State in a 31-point victory, the Bears jumped out to a 31-point lead in the first 11 1/2 minutes in the rematch. Baylor hadn’t scored 100 points twice against an opponent in the same season since 1978-79 against TCU.

After a tough three-game stretch that saw the Bears, beat both Texas Tech and Kansas by eight and rally from a nine-point deficit to beat Oklahoma State on the road, this one had a different look pretty much from the start. After Antonio Gordon ended Baylor’s first 18-0 run with a 3-pointer, the Bears reeled off another 18 in a row and went up 38-5. Davion Mitchell had a career-high 31 points and seven made three-pointers.

The 48-point margin was the Bears’ second-biggest ever, topped only by a 97-45 win over Texas A&M on Feb. 3, 2002. Baylor also scored its second-most points in a Big 12 game behind only the 116-110 five-OT victory at Texas A&M in 2008.

“They’re really good, they’re undefeated for a reason” said K-State coach Bruce Weber, whose team has dropped eight-straight league games. “Unless something happens, they’re going to win the league and they’re a team that’s going to be playing late into March and into April, I would expect.”

Jared Butler scored all 13 of his points in the first half and Matthew Mayer chipped in with 10 points for the Bears, who have a two-game lead over fifth-ranked Texas in the Big 12 standings.   Baylor dominated the boards, 41-23, shot a sizzling 60.7 percent from 3-point range (17-of-28) and doubled up the Wildcats on points in the paint, 44-22. Senior forward Mark Vital, who had eight points, five rebounds, three steals and a block, set a program record with his 40th Big 12 victory.

Expert Prediction

  • Baylor 80, Auburn 68

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