College Basketball Preview: Baylor Keeps on Winning

The Baylor Bears finally convinced voters two weeks ago that they were the best team in the NCAA, despite Gonzaga’s gaudy point differential (+22.6) ppg) and record (21-1). Since then, the Bears have done nothing to cast doubt on that assessment. Baylor’s point differential may be a mere +14.1 ppg, and they may be only 17-1, but they are also 5-0 against ranked opponents and play in the Big 12, which is no worse than the second-best conference in the land.

The rankings this week were unusually stable, as the top 7 teams remained unchanged. Houston (#21) and LSU (#22) were the big climbers, each rising 4 spots; while Texas Tech (#18), Memphis (#20), Arizona (#22) were the big losers, falling all the way off the table. Memphis had a rough week, getting scorched last Wednesday 80-40 by unranked Tulsa, and then losing 74-70 to unranked SMU on Saturday.

Here’s a look ahead at this week’s college hoops schedule on Sling.

Wednesday, January 29
#6 Louisville Cardinals (17-3) vs Boston College Eagles (10-10)
9pm ET on ACC
On Saturday, the Cards survived a fourth straight quiet game from Jordan Nwora (10 points, 5 rebounds) to beat Clemson 80-62, as Darius Perry picked up the slack with a career-high 19 points. Jairus Hamilton scored 23 points and had 8 rebounds Saturday to lead BC to a 61-56 win over Virginia Tech.

Thursday, January 30
Minnesota Gophers (11-9) vs #19 Illinois Fighting Illini (15-5)
7:30pm ET on FS1
Daniel Oturu’s 19 points on Sunday weren’t nearly enough as the Gophers fell 70-52 to #14 Michigan State. Although Ayo Dosunmu led all scorers with 27 points, the Illini barely held on Saturday for a 64-62 win over Michigan, which kept the team tied with Michigan State for first place in the Big Ten.

Saturday, February 1
Texas Christian Horned Frogs (13-6) vs #1 Baylor Bears (17-1)
4pm ET on ESPN2
Wasting a 24-18 effort from Kevin Samuel, the Horned Frogs lost 78-67 on Sunday to Arkansas, their third defeat in their last four games. Baylor continues to justify their #1 ranking, most recently with their 16th win in a row, a 72-61 victory on Saturday over Florida.

#13 Kentucky Wildcats (15-4) vs #17 Auburn Tigers (17-2)
6pm ET on ESPN
The ‘Cats blew a 10-point lead Saturday over Texas Tech, but salvaged the 76-74 win in OT, with Nick Richards scoring 25 points to go along with 14 boards. Samir Doughty posted an 18-6-5 line to lead the Tigers on Saturday, as they won 80-76 over Iowa State.

Sunday, February 2
#19 Illinois Fighting Illini (15-5) vs #18 Iowa Hawkeyes (15-5)
1pm ET on FS1
After starting 0-3 against ranked teams, Illinois is heading into choppy waters, with 5 of their final 11 games against teams currently in the top 25. Luka Garza led the charge Monday as the Hawkeyes rallied from down 12 against Wisconsin to win 68-62, with Garza scoring 21 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and blocking 3 shots.

Stats through Monday, courtesy SRCBB