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Oklahoma at Baylor Preview and Prediction

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After two close losses, Baylor looks to get back on track

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Oklahoma Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

After falling to Kansas on Saturday, Baylor (22-5, 9-5) will face a much easier test against Oklahoma (9-17, 3-11). Baylor is heavily favored in this one and absolutely should win.

Oklahoma will play Baylor for the second time this season without Jordan Woodard. Woodard is Oklahoma’s best player, and in his absence, Oklahoma has only beaten Texas.

Baylor won the first game 76-50. That may have been the best the Bears have played all season. Baylor made 9-of-20 3-point attempts. Johnathan Motley and Jo Lual-Acuil combined for 31 points. Baylor added spectacular defense—Oklahoma shot just 31% on 2-point shots. This all added up to a dominating win.

Oklahoma is bad at turning people over. They rank just 273rd on KenPom in defensive turnover rate. That’s a problem for the Sooners because the best way to beat Baylor, as evidenced by West Virginia and Kansas, is to turn the Bears over. With the loss of Woodard, expecting Oklahoma to suddenly turn Baylor over is unlikely.

Baylor travels to Iowa State on Saturday. This is not the time overlook Oklahoma, but this is the time to reintegrate Al Freeman. Baylor ended the Kansas game with a limping Manu Lecomte, instead of playing another guard. Baylor desperately needs to be able to close games with Freeman. Even if Lecomte is healthy, teams have started abandoning Lual-Acuil in late game situations. Freeman would be an additional guy who could dribble penetrate. It’s time do to this again:

Baylor did really well with passing between big men in the first contest. Terry Maston had a career game last week against Texas Tech, but he followed that up with a few costly mistakes against Kansas. Those mistakes limited his playing time. If he returns to the passing and offensive rebounding he displayed against Oklahoma, he should be right back in the lineup:

Prediction

Baylor is much better than this current Oklahoma team. Lon Kruger is an awesome coach, but this isn’t the Buddy Hield team that made the Final Four last season.

I think Baylor has too much talent to lose a home game to Oklahoma. Even if Baylor has a lethargic stretch, it shouldn’t be enough to stop Baylor from winning. I’ll take Baylor 74-62.