No. 19 Baylor (16-5, 4-4) vs. TCU (14-7, 1-7)
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In case you blocked the last meeting from your memory, allow me to refresh you. Baylor came out with a 66-59 win in a game that featured 53 personal fouls, 74 free throws, and a 29.8% struggle from the floor for the Bears. Let's hope tonight's game is a bit cleaner.
TCU has the reputation of a defensive team, and that is mostly earned. They defended extremely well against their non-conference schedule, which, by the way, was about as weak as Baylor football's. (Did I do that joke right?) Their non-conference strength of schedule is ranked by CBSSports.com at 348, one of the absolute worst in the country. If you look at their total SOS, they bump up to 153. That's the difference just 8 Big 12 games made. It's basically like they jumped up to an entirely different league between non-conference and conference play. So, in the interest of assessing just how good their defense really is, let's look at just their results in conference. Admittedly, this gives us a small sample size, but it's better to look at how they've played against comparable talent.
Against Big 12 opponents, TCU has not defended at quite the rate as against the non-conference. Against conference opponents, TCU has a defensive efficiency at 101.4 points per 100 possessions, which is a nearly 10 points higher than their full season average of 91.9. That is a significant (and expected) difference. In fact, their full season def. eff. ranks 25th in the country, but they are 6th in conference play, barely ahead of Baylor (101.9) and a decent chunk behind Kstate (97.9). Against conference opponents, then, TCU has been a below average Big 12 defense by efficiency.
To the Horned Frogs' credit, there are a few things they have done very, very well against Big 12 offenses. They are 1st in opp. 3P% (28.3%), 3rd in opp. turnover% (20.1), and 3rd in opp. eff. field goal percentage (44.2%). Where they've been vulnerable are opp. OReb% (39.5% for 10th) and FTA/FGA (49.9% for 9th). They've been average in most of the other categories.
So, while TCU has played at a high level defensively over the course of their season, they are not so good that it should be especially worrying for Baylor fans. Oklahoma, who ranks first in defensive efficiency in Big 12 play at 93.4, allowed Baylor to score at a rate of 110 points per 100 when they visited Waco. That's not to say we should expect Baylor to score 83 points like they did against UT. TCU fouls a lot, and Baylor isn't very good from the charity stripe. There should be enough opportunities, however, for Baylor to get points and put some distance between themselves and the Frogs.
1.) Free throws, make them: TCU fouls a lot. Baylor has to take advantage of those chances for free points.
2.) Contain Kyan Anderson: They dude is basically their entire offense, and he is almost literally the only Frog with a jump shot. Stay in his face late in the clock and force his teammates to make shots.
3.) Continue moving the ball on offense: Baylor has done a good job at moving into open spaces off ball, while Lester Medford has done an excellent job at driving and dishing to open shooters.
TCU doesn't have enough offense, and Baylor keeps its home mojo going. TCU 56 -- Baylor 69
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