No. 22 Baylor (11-1) at No. 18 Oklahoma (9-3)
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A new year, a new start to Big 12 conference basketball. Baylor and OU kick off their schedules with a showdown between top 25 teams. If you want a little deeper look at the Sooners, check out Sunday's Big 12 basketball power rankings. We'll try our best to make fuller previews in the future, but holidays and family have taken up time. Hopefully you won't begrudge us that. In the mean time, let's take a quick look at the Sooners.
Oklahoma Sooner Roster and Stats
|D.J. Bennett||SR||F||6-8||2.8 Pts, 2.1 Reb, 0.2 Ast|
|Frank Booker||SO||G||6-4||4.5 Pts, 1.5 Reb, 0.5 Ast|
|C.J. Cole||SO||F||6-7||0.6 Pts, 0.6 Reb, 0.1 Ast|
|Isaiah Cousins||JR||G||6-4||13.0 Pts, 6.2 Reb, 2.0 Ast|
|James Fraschilla||SR||G||5-10||0.0 Pts, 0.0 Reb, 0.5 Ast|
|Daniel Harper||SO||G||6-1||0.0 Pts, 0.5 Reb, 0.3 Ast|
|Buddy Hield||JR||G||6-4||15.7 Pts, 5.0 Reb, 1.8 Ast|
|Khadeem Lattin||FR||F||6-9||3.5 Pts, 3.7 Reb, 0.5 Ast|
|Austin Mankin||SO||F||6-7||0.3 Pts, 0.4 Reb, 0.3 Ast|
|Trey Slate||SO||G||6-1||1.2 Pts, 0.2 Reb, 0.0 Ast|
|Ryan Spangler||JR||F||6-8||10.0 Pts, 8.4 Reb, 1.0 Ast|
|TaShawn Thomas||SR||F||6-8||10.8 Pts, 5.2 Reb, 1.0 Ast|
|Dinjiyl Walker||JR||G||6-1||5.5 Pts, 1.5 Reb, 1.2 Ast|
|Jordan Woodard||SO||G||6-0||8.3 Pts, 4.3 Reb, 4.8 Ast|
As you can see, JR Buddy Hield is the Sooners' leading scorer and shameless three gunner. He has lots of help, though. There are four double digit scorers on the team, and SO Jordan Woodard isn't far away from being a fifth. JR Ryan Spangler is nearly averaging a double-double, and JR transfer TaShawn Thomas is a threat to score inside.
Even with all those scorers, Oklahoma's defense is the real threat. They boast the country's 5th ranked defense by adjusted efficiency, per KenPom. It'll be tough to score, especially given Baylor's sometimes stagnant half court offense.
Baylor Bears Roster and Stats
|Kenny Chery||SR||G||5-11||8.8 Pts, 3.1 Reb, 4.3 Ast|
|Deng Deng||JR||F||6-8||4.4 Pts, 2.7 Reb, 0.3 Ast|
|Allerik Freeman||FR||G||6-3||7.0 Pts, 2.2 Reb, 0.8 Ast|
|Rico Gathers||JR||F||6-8||10.1 Pts, 10.4 Reb, 0.3 Ast|
|John Heard||JR||F||6-5||1.0 Pts, 0.7 Reb, 0.0 Ast|
|T.J. Maston||FR||F||6-7||2.1 Pts, 0.9 Reb, 0.1 Ast|
|Lester Medford||JR||G||5-10||8.3 Pts, 2.1 Reb, 4.3 Ast|
|Austin Mills||JR||G||6-1||0.9 Pts, 0.3 Reb, 1.3 Ast|
|Johnathan Motley||FR||F||6-9||9.8 Pts, 4.7 Reb, 0.8 Ast|
|Royce O'Neale||SR||F||6-6||10.8 Pts, 6.5 Reb, 3.3 Ast|
|Taurean Prince||JR||F||6-7||11.5 Pts, 5.4 Reb, 1.2 Ast|
|Ish Wainright||SO||G-F||6-5||2.0 Pts, 2.4 Reb, 1.2 Ast|
Baylor has three double digit scorers of its own, and FR Johnathan Motley, SR Kenny Chery, JR Lester Medford and FR Allerik Freeman are all pretty close to getting there themselves. As always, offensive rebounding will be the key. Baylor still holds the 2nd best offensive rebounding percentage in the country, per KenPom. A fair bit of the Bears' points come after offensive rebounds, particularly for JR Rico Gathers and Motley. Those two will have to finish well around the rim for Baylor to compete in this game.
Like Oklahoma, Baylor's strength was at the defensive end in the non-conference slate. Last season, Baylor was the worst Big 12 team at defending the three point shot. This season, they're 8th in the country. Perimeter defense will be imperative. Limiting JR guard Isaiah Cousins, Woodard, and Hield will be tough.
Quick Keys to a Baylor Win
1.) Offensive rebounding
2.) Perimeter defense putting pressure on Oklahoma's shooters
3.) Limiting Oklahoma's transition opportunities
Join us in the comments for the game! Sic'em, Bears!