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Baylor Bears vs. Colorado Buffaloes - Pick-Odds-Prediction 11/8/13

Colorado Buffaloes (21-12) at Baylor Bears (23-14)

NCAAB Basketball: Friday, November 8, 2013 at 10:00 pm (American Airlines Center)

The Line: Baylor Bears -4.5 -- Over/Under: 146 See the Latest Odds

TV: FSN

The 25th-ranked Baylor Bears come into the 2013-14 college hoops season with a lot to prove after breezing through the NIT on their way to an emphatic 20-point win over Iowa for the 2013 title. Chief among them are that the Bears belong in the NCAA tournament this season and they’ll be hot on the heels of perennial Big 12 powers #5 Kansas and #8 Oklahoma State. Baylor will need to replace two key perimeter players, though, in Pierre Jackson and A.J. Walton, who have both signed with professional teams overseas after the briefest of NBA stints. JUCO transfer Kenny Cherry, who played two years at State Fair Community College in Missouri, will step in at the point for Jackson and have big shoes to fill, but the Bears’ success this season will hinge on the return of 7-1 sophomore center Isaiah Austin and 6-9 senior forward Cory Jefferson, who averaged 21 points in the Bears’ run to the NIT championship. 6-2 Senior guard Brady Heslip, who averaged 8.6 ppg and shot 38.9 percent from beyond the arc last season, will also need to play a bigger role this season.

The Colorado Buffaloes lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament last season, but had a decent campaign with strong wins over a 16th-ranked Baylor team and twice against  Oregon when it was ranked 19th in the country. Junior 6-6 G Spencer Dinwiddie will drive this team at the point after averaging 15.3 ppg last season. He’s long and athletic and has the game to be one of the nation’s standouts on both ends of the floor. Making up the rest of Colorado’s three-headed monster are  6-10 sophomore Josh Scott, who’s projected to get the start at center after averaging 10.2 ppg and 5.7 rpg last season, and  6-7 forward Xavier Johnson, who averaged 8.9 ppg and 4.8 rpg last season.

Baylor Bears vs. Colorado Buffaloes - Pick-Odds-Prediction 11/8/13

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor is a 4.5 home favorite in this one and being a season as well as a home-opener has to give the edge to a Baylor team who’s sure to be fired up and out to prove that last season’s NCAA snub was a major oversight. Look for Baylor to cover.

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Baylor -4.5

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