The Lone Star State has never been a place where basketball reigns supreme but Texas has managed to deliver one of the most intriguing Final Four matchups this season. The Baylor Bears and Houston Cougars are set to square off in the first half of the Final Four tonight with the winner set to earn a spot in the National Championship Game on Monday night.
The theme for Baylor throughout the season has been its explosive offense, which has carried over into the NCAA Tournament. The Bears have racked up at least 75 points in three of their four tournament games, including an 81-72 victory over Arkansas in the Elite Eight to punch their ticket to the final weekend of March Madness.
MaCio Teague led the way for Baylor with 22 points on a night that the Bears shot 48.4 percent from the floor and knocked down 8-of-15 three-point attempts. That offensive firepower will be put to the test against Houston’s rugged defense.
The Cougars have one of the nation’s most efficient defenses, checking into the matchup eighth in the KenPom rankings on that end of the floor, and they have yet to yield more than 61 points in a tournament game. That defensive effort has helped bail out a Houston offense that has struggled mightily over its past three games, failing to exceed 67 points against three double-digit seeds.
The key to this matchup will be if Baylor is able to bring its own defensive intensity to the matchup. The Bears have the capability of being a lockdown defensive team but saw their numbers get inflated after a rough stretch following their COVID pause, so if these two teams get into a defensive battle it should favor Baylor, which is more capable of putting the ball into the basket than Houston is.
How to bet and watch Houston vs. Baylor in the Final Four
Date: Saturday, April 3
Time: 5:14 p.m. ET
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Venue: Lucas Oil Stadium
Live Stream: March Madness Live
Line: Baylor -5 (FanDuel)
Prediction: Baylor 79, Houston 71