This game's matchup of elite guards will likely determine the winner. That puts some pressure on Houston's Quentin Grimes, who averages a team-high 18 points per game.
Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the basketball, and the Final Four matchup between No. 1 Baylor Bears and No. 2 Houston Cougars will no doubt provide some big entertainment. Houston hasn’t made it this far in the big dance since Michael Jordan‘s last NCAA Tournament in 1984, although the Cougars never had to deal with His Airness. It’s been an even longer wait for Baylor, as they haven’t reached the Final Four since 1950. Which of these teams is going home early and which will get a shot at their first NCAA championship in school history?
Houston Cougars vs. Baylor Bears NCAA Tournament Point Spread and Betting
The line has held steady so far, with Baylor coming in as 5-point favourites to win. Early betting action is siding with the Bears at a 74 per cent rate. The total has dipped slightly to 134, but the Over is getting 77 per cent of that action. It’s worth noting that’s Houston’s stingy defence has kept them short of the number in three of four tournament games, while Baylor has split the over/under in their four games. The Cougars are 14-6 against the spread in their last 20 games, although they did fail to cover as 8-point favourites over Oregon State in the Elite Eight. The Bears have covered in their last three games and they are 18-12 ATS overall.
(2) Houston Cougars
Houston set an interesting record to get to this point. The Cougars are the first team in tournament history to reach the Final Four by playing four double-digit seeds. Their 67-61 win against Oregon State in the Sweet 16 was the first time in five games Houston’s defence gave up more than 60 points. The ACC Champions have possibly the best defence in the country. They’re holding teams to 43.3 per cent field goal shooting and just 29.2 per cent from beyond the arc. This game’s matchup of elite guards will likely determine the winner. That puts some pressure on Quentin Grimes. The junior guard averages a team-high 18 points per game, to go along with 5.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists. Houston attacks the rim at both ends of the floor and they’ve proven they can score in bunches. They’ll need to get a quick start against Baylor and lock them down defensively. If they win the battles on the glass and don’t let Baylor’s shooters to get in a rhythm, they’ll have a great chance in this game.
(1) Baylor Bears
Baylor has the best backcourt in the country. Jared Butler, MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell are all averaging between 14 and 16 points per game and the team as a whole is averaging 74.5 points per game in the tournament. They’re also crafty on defence. The Bears are averaging a steal once every eight possessions and they’re holding opponents to an average of 60.3 points per game. This team piles up points from the outside. Baylor is 30-48 from beyond the arc in the tournament and their season average of 41.3 per cent leads the nation. The Bears’ shooters can provide scoring from all over the floor, but they’ll need to focus on winning the battles on the glass and getting some post scoring in this game. They’re up against a team that has had the easiest path to the Final Four in tournament history. Getting a quick start and burying Houston early should help Baylor cruise to the championship.