Texas has played some of its best basketball of the season during its current seven-game winning streak. Baylor has barely played any basketball this season because of NCAA-imposed sanctions.
The fifth-ranked Longhorns try to remain the only unbeaten team in Big 12 play when they visit Baylor on Saturday.
Texas (15-2, 3-0 Big 12) has been stifling on defense during its win streak, limiting opponents to 52.6 points per game and 30.8 percent shooting. The Longhorns held Texas Tech to 36.7 percent from the field in Tuesday’s 80-46 rout, increasing their average margin of victory in Big 12 games to 26.3 points.
While the defense was solid, the offense got a boost from Brad Buckman. The senior forward, who averages 11.2 points, had 16 points and nine rebounds and felt as close to healthy as he has been all season.
“I don’t have any pain right now. When your adrenaline is running so much, you don’t feel anything at all,” said Buckman, who has missed four games this season and parts of others due to a calf injury.
Buckman’s teammates also noted the balance he brings to the Longhorns as LaMarcus Aldridge scored 19 points while P.J. Tucker and Daniel Gibson each added 16.
“Brad’s a big piece of our team,” Tucker said. “He brings a lot of versatility.”
Tucker averages 17.6 points and 9.0 rebounds, and Aldridge contributes 17.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game while shooting 64.4 percent.
Baylor (0-3, 0-3) has had enough trouble against average Big 12 teams while trying to get its footing. The Bears were not allowed to play a non-conference schedule this season after the NCAA found major violations under previous coach Dave Bliss.
Scott Drew’s team is coming off an 81-48 defeat on Wednesday at Colorado, and the Bears have lost their first three games by an average of 23.0 points. Finding an early rhythm has been difficult for Baylor, which has been held to 21.3 points per game in the first half while shooting 17.9 percent (5-for-28) from 3-point range.
Aaron Bruce is averaging a team-high 13.3 points for the Bears, who are shooting 31.8 percent from the field this season and scoring 52.3 points a game. Baylor has been outrebounded by more than 13 per game.
Coach Rick Barnes is 15-0 with the Longhorns against the Bears, who have not beaten Texas since an 80-75 win on Feb. 21, 1998. Texas has won 40 of the last 47 games between the teams, and leads the all-time series 146-75.