TCU looks to continue recent success vs. No. 2 Baylor

NCAA

No. 2 Baylor keeps finding different ways to win.

While the Bears have generally won with high-powered offense from its starting lineup — MaCio Teague and Jared Butler combine to average more than 31 points per game — Baylor is coming off a Wednesday win over Oklahoma that was fueled by its bench.

Whether it’s with offense from Teague and Butler, the bench, defense or another way, the Bears (10-0, 3-0 Big 12) are hoping to find a way to win once again when they visit TCU (9-3, 2-2) for a conference clash Saturday afternoon in Fort Worth, Texas.

Baylor has not really been tested, with all of its wins coming by at least 11 points with an average margin of victory of 28.8 points per game. The Bears have led by at least 13 points at halftime in all but three games.

Depth has played a big role in Baylor’s best start since opening 15-0 in 2016-17.

“Each and every night, the luxury we have is we have different guys that can get going,” coach Scott Drew said.

Although Baylor hasn’t been pushed much late, Drew understands that that isn’t like to continue for long.

“Us coaches know that there is no safe lead in the Big 12,” Drew said. “Look at West Virginia the other night — Oklahoma State was up 19 with 11 minutes to go. We’ve had big leads and lost them.

“… The tough thing is you fight against human nature when you get a big lead. You think and assume things are going to be easy, and in the Big 12 they’re not.”

The Bears could learn that lesson Saturday if they aren’t careful.

The Horned Frogs have had success against the Bears, winning four of six meetings over the last three seasons. That includes a 75-72 home win last February when the Bears, as they are now, were ranked No. 2.

TCU is in the middle of its toughest stretch of the season. Starting with Tuesday’s 93-64 loss to No. 6 Kansas, the Frogs play seven of eight games against ranked opponents.

The lopsided loss to the Jayhawks snapped a five-game winning streak for TCU.

“It was extremely disappointing. I didn’t see it coming,” coach Jamie Dixon said. “We’re a better team than this. It’s easy to say but now we’ve got to go do something about it against another good team.”

In its wins this season, TCU has held opponents to just below 40 percent shooting. In three losses, all at home, the Horned Frogs have allowed opponents to shoot 53.6 percent from the floor.

“It’s pretty obvious. It’s pretty clear that our defense determines our success,” Dixon said.

But TCU needs to get going again offensively as well.

Freshman guard Mike Miles, who was averaging 14.8 points entering Tuesday’s game, was scoreless against Kansas and missed all eight shots from the field.

“I have great confidence that he’s going to respond and come out and perform,” Dixon said.

–Field Level Media

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