Coming off of its biggest win of the season—a 75-67 win over Kansas in Lubbock on Saturday—the Texas Tech Red Raiders will try to keep their momentous week going with a game against the unbeaten defending national champions in Waco. Are they the right college basketball pick?
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Baylor Bears
Tuesday, January 11, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Ferrell Center
The Red Raiders moved up to No. 19 in this week’s poll. They are 11-3, 1-1 in the Big 12 and will be playing their third straight highly-ranked opponent in No. 1 Baylor. The three-game streak started with a 51-47 loss at then No. 11 Iowa State last week.
Baylor’s 21-game winning streak is the third-longest in Big 12 history, although the Bears have played some close games at the start of the Big 12 schedule, beating Iowa State by 5, Oklahoma by 10, and TCU by 12 in the last three games. Only 3 of their first 12 games had margins of 12 points or fewer.
Short-Handed Red Raiders
The Red Raiders had just seven players available for the loss to Iowa State. Tech is getting healthier, but two of its top scoring options will be game-time decisions on Tuesday night.
Terrence Shannon Jr. leads Texas Tech in scoring at 14.3 ppg, but the junior has missed the last five games with back spasms. The back has bothered Shannon since mid-December, and he has played in just six games this season.
Also, missing time for Texas Tech has been junior guard Kevin McCullar, who is second on the team at 13.5 ppg. He also averages 6.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists. McCullar suffered an injury in practice and missed the Iowa State and Kansas games. He was considered 50/50 to play in each of the last two games and seems like the better bet to get back on the floor against Baylor.
Tech got back one player last game in junior guard Mylik Wilson, who missed five games with a knee injury. Just a few days after his return was estimated at two weeks, Wilson logged 23 minutes against Kansas.
In the absence of the three Red Raiders, junior guard Clarence Nadolny has stepped up. After scoring 17 points and logging three DNPs in the first 12 games, Nadolny has scored 34 in the last three. He’s also more than doubled his season assist total. He had 3 steals and 17 points against Kansas and showed that he can be part of the regular rotation at the point, which would free McCullar up to play off the ball.
Also Down a Man
Baylor is in better shape than Texas Tech, health-wise, but the Bears will likely be a man down for the game. Freshman forward Jeremy Sochan sprained his left ankle in the first half of the Bears’ last game, against TCU, and didn’t return to the floor.
Coach Scott Drew sounded pessimistic that Sochan would be ready to go on Tuesday. “We’ll list him day-to-day, but obviously sprained ankles take time,” said Drew. “A lot of it will depend on how he bounces back and how treatment and recovery goes.”
The 6-foot-9 Sochan averages 7.9 ppg, 5.9 rebounds and is third on the team in assists. He’s also a reliable outside shooter.
Transfer Dale Bonner will likely get Sochan’s minutes if he can’t go. He got seven minutes against TCU after not playing in the first two Big 12 games.
“Against TCU he did a great job,” Drew said. “No matter if he plays or doesn’t play, he’s always ready when you do put him in.”
After missing the big win over Kansas, it will be tough to keep Shannon and McCullar off the floor for the top team in the nation. Look for both scorers to return, at least on a limited basis, and for the Red Raiders to have more depth with the discovery of Nadolny in their absence. It may not be enough to knock off the Bears, but it will keep things close for the NCAAB odds. With that said, take Texas Tech at the top-rated sportsbooks.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.