Baylor faces Louisville in the Battle 4 Atlantis final. The game airs at 2:30 on ESPN.
A month ago, Baylor received zero votes in the A.P. Top 25. With a win today, the Bears would have four wins against the KenPom top 40. That would be two more than anyone else.
Baylor will rely on Johnathan Motley to once again take over. Motley led the Bears with 26 points against Michigan State, including 20 in the fist half. Motley will face a challenge as Louisville enters the contest with the best KenPom defense. The Cardinals are also top five in shot blocking and two point defense.
The Bears—like many teams in the ballroom at the Battle 4 Atlantis—have struggled to make threes. The Bears will need to return to form against Louisville. Manu Lecomte regained his confidence in the second half against the Spartans and will need to continue that against Louisville.
Ish Wainright has kept the team together and keyed important runs. As the Bears felt the game slipping away in the first half, he made a huge save:
Baylor switched to man-to-man defense and slowed Michigan State’s offense. Louisville is a pretty terrible shooting team but makes up for it by being the 18th best offensive rebounding team. The Bears may start in zone and hope Louisville misses threes.
This is Baylor’s greatest challenge to date. They’ll have the best player on the floor with Johnathan Motley, and if he plays like he did yesterday, I think the Bears win this one. I’ll take Baylor 58-54 because I believe they’ll keep making plays like this: