#16 Baylor vs. #8 Wichita State
Saturday, December 2nd 1:00 PM CT, ESPNU
Kendall already did a very in depth preview of this game here. I largely agree with his analysis except for a couple of caveats. First, even if #8 Wichita State (5-1) has Shamet available to play, #16 Baylor (5-1) has a zone defense that is uniquely good at stopping drives to the rim. A lot of Shamet’s game is premised around driving iso defenders to the rim before the help can get there. I think the Bears can shut that down, much like Notre Dame was able to with their zone.
Second, with a 7 man rotation for Baylor due to injury, I think refereeing style could have a large impact on the game. This isn’t in a good calls/bad calls sense but rather how tight will the crew call it? Baylor plays a zone defense with very active hands. If they start getting called for every bump and swipe, foul trouble will build quickly like what happened in the Xavier game. This forces the team to play less aggressive defense, allowing for more offensive openings.
Either way, with a packed Ferrell Center and injuries plaguing both teams, I’ll disagree with Kendall and take the Bears to win 72-70.
#23 TCU vs. Yale
Saturday, December 2nd 4:00 PM CT, FSSW
#23 TCU (7-0) is off to a hot start this season with a tournament win in the Emerald Coast Classic. However, something doesn’t seem to be clicking yet for a team many expected to be an elite contender in the Big 12 this year. That 7-0 start has included many games that were a lot closer than they should have been and no “marquee” wins as of yet. Yale (5-4) doesn’t do much to change that and this game will probably look similar to TCU’s other games: ugly at times, but ultimatley ending in a Horned Frog victory.
TCU wins 73-60.
#2 Kansas vs. Syracuse
Saturday, December 2nd 4:30 PM CT, ESPN
#2 Kansas (6-0) gets another great nonconfernce matchup with fellow blue blood Syracuse (6-0). For those wondering why both of these undefeated teams are so far apart in the rankings (#2 vs. unranked), it’s all about who they’ve played and how they’ve looked. Kansas looks every bit as likely to repeat and win the Big 12 regular season championship ...sigh... again. They’ve already beat Kentucky and won all their other games by no less than 36 points. Syracuse’s best win was a 2 point win over a Maryland team that just isn’t that good so far this year. And while the Orange’s other games haven’t been particularly close, they aren’t blowing teams out like Kansas. Kansas also leads Syracuse in every major statistical category besides a slight Orange advantage in rebounds and blocks.
I’ll take Kansas to win this game behind a strong shooting performance from Devonte Graham, 86-76.
Kansas State @ Vanderbilt
Sunday, December 3rd 1:30 PM CT, SECN+
Kansas State (6-1) is taking on a Bryce Drew led Vanderbilt (3-4) that is in desperate need of a good win. Kansas State has a 2 point loss to Arizona State and then wins against far weaker teams so far this season. Vanderbilt is coming off a much needed win following a grueling stretch of back to back to back losses to USC, Virginia, and Seton Hall. They also lost earlier to Belmont. The stats actually favor Vanderbilt in this game but I’m not entirely convinced that will be the case. KState needs a big game from standouts Dean Wade and Barry Brown. A strong rebounding performance from Amaad Wainright (yes, Ish Wainright’s younger brother) wouldn’t hurt either.
I’ll take the Wildcats, 66-62.
Oklahoma State vs. Mississippi Valley State
Sunday, December 3rd 2:00 PM CT, FSOK
Last and certainly least this weekend is Oklahoma State (6-1) taking on Mississppi Valley State (0-7). The Cowboys one loss is to a really solid Texas A&M squad and they have a notable win over Pitt. Mississippi Valley State is just outright bad this year, with their closest loss being by 13 points. This should be a nice tune up game for the Cowboys before they follow up Baylor and take on Wichita State.
Cowboys win 98-48.