Texas may be in need of a signature win to boost its NCAA tournament chances, and Monday night's meeting with Baylor represents an excellent chance to get one.
The Longhorns are 0-6 versus ranked opponents heading into a Big 12 rematch in Austin against a No. 13 Bears team that has dropped three of four.
Texas (17-10, 7-7) has advanced to the NCAA tournament in each of coach Rick Barnes' 13 seasons, with only five other schools having matched that accomplishment in that span.
That streak could be in jeopardy since the Longhorns have matched their highest Big 12 loss total under Barnes after their four-game win streak ended with Saturday's 90-78 defeat at Oklahoma State. Texas allowed Keiton Page to score 40 points as the 5-foot-9 guard made all 20 foul shots.
"We gave him separation and he knocked down shots and got to the foul line," Barnes said. "We fouled him in ways that we should never foul and ways that we haven't in the past."
The Longhorns don't have much time to regroup before they try to improve to 13-1 at home against Baylor (22-5, 9-5) under Barnes and avenge a 76-71 loss in Waco on Jan. 28.
"It will be a whole new ballgame against a totally different type of team," Barnes said. "We're going to have to be better both mentally and physically."
The Bears are likely secure in gaining a third NCAA berth in five seasons, but they're in the midst of their worst stretch of the season after Saturday's 57-56 home loss to Kansas State. Baylor shot 38.5 percent - one of its four poorest shooting efforts, with three coming in losses during this 1-3 stretch.
"We needed to be able to build a lead and sustain it," guard Brady Heslip said. "In the first half, we were up (nine) on them, and they came back. And then in the second half, we went up to start the half and then they hit some big shots."
Quincy Acy scored 14 points and Heslip added 13.
"Definitely their defense was good, but we had some good looks too," coach Scott Drew said.
Baylor committed 18 turnovers. That continues to be a problem for the Bears, the Big 12's third-worst team in that department with 14.4 per game.
"Eighteen turnovers is by far too many and that really hurt us," Drew said. "The big thing is that we got leads, got chances to extend and we didn't take advantage of that."
A scoring duel between NBA prospects Perry Jones III of Baylor and J'Covan Brown of Texas materialized in the first matchup, when the Bears overcame 18 turnovers. Jones had 22 points and 14 rebounds while Brown scored 32.
Brown leads the Big 12 with 19.7 points per game. He's struggled in conference home games, however, averaging 16.6 points on 31.4 percent shooting compared to marks of 23.7 points per game and 46.9 percent from the field on the road in Big 12 play.
The Longhorns are 14-2 at home with losses to Big 12 co-leaders Kansas and Missouri by a combined four points.
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