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Saturday NCAA betting: No. 5 Missouri at No. 3 Baylor

Mizzou to fall?

It’s the first-ever Top-5 game in Big 12 history that doesn’t involve Kansas or Texas when No. 5 Missouriand No. 3 Baylor face off as the two one-loss teams look to stay on the Jayhawks’ heels in the conference. The Bears are 3.5-point� college basketball bets favorites on WagerWeb.com.

Baylor enters off its first loss of the year. On Monday, KU’s Thomas Robinson had 27 points and 14 rebounds, Tyshawn Taylor matched a career-high with 28 points and the seventh-ranked Jayhawks rolled to a 92-74 victory, ending the third-ranked Bears’ perfect start and proving once more that the road to the Big 12 title goes through Kansas.

Baylor (17-1, 4-1) had been riding the longest winning streak in school history to its best start ever. But the long and lean Bears were dominated inside and had no answer for the combination of Robinson and Taylor, one of the best inside-outside tandems in the nation.

Missouri on handily on Monday, beating Texas A&M 70-51 to end an eight-game losing streak to the Aggies. The Tigers (17-1, 4-1 Big 12) started the game by making only five of their first 14 shots from the field against the conference’s best scoring defense. But Michael Dixon’s 3-pointer with 7:22 remaining in the first half started a 17-0 run that gave Missouri a 31-17 lead and it never looked back.

Tigers senior guard Marcus Denmon was named one of 25 finalists for the John R. Wooden National Player of the Year Award as the foundation announced its midseason list of 25 on Tuesday. Denmon leads the Tigers with 17.8 ppg and is second on the team in rebounding at 5.5.

Baylor is 17-2 all-time when ranked in the Top 10 — 14 of those wins have come this season.  Saturday is the first Top 5 matchup and second Top 10 matchup in program history. It is also the first Top 10 men’s basketball matchup in Ferrell Center history.

Missouri has its highest rank since the 2003-04 season, when they reached as high as third. The No. 5 national rank also marks the first time that Mizzou has been ranked this high at this point in the season since 1990, when the Tigers were ranked first nationally. That year, Mizzou won the Big Eight regular season title.

The Tigers’ 17-1 start is the program’s best start since the 1981-82 season (the 17-1 mark is tied with the 1989-90 team), but another note to be aware of is that the Tigers’ 4-1 start in Big 12 play is the Tigers’ best start in league play since the 2008-09 season when the Tigers also opened at 4-1. That year Mizzou won the Big 12 Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.

Saturday marks the 24th series meeting and the 18th in the Big 12 era. Missouri leads the series 13-10 and has won three of the last four meetings. Baylor has won the last three series meetings in Waco. It also marks the first series meeting with both teams ranked in the Top 25.

SA Pick: we like Baylor -3.5 in this game. Home favorites and team with chance to prove themselves against a spotty Mizzou team.

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Saturday, January 21st, 2012 2012-previews-picks, College Basketball Betting

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