Baylor knocked off Arizona 58-49 as Saturday became Sunday. Here are three takeaways from the win:
Some thoughts on @BaylorMBB win at Arizona. 1) 51-19 Bears edge looked like varsity vs. JV scrimmage 2) Best Baylor zone has looked in a while 3) Makai Mason on one leg still pretty good 4) Mark Vital is Rodman.— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) December 16, 2018
1) Rebounding- Baylor out-rebounded Arizona 51-19. When asked how that happened, Arizona center Chase Jeter said, “Toughness.” Mark Vital had 17 rebounds, including eight offensive boards. The Wildcats didn’t seem to want the game as much as Baylor.
The Bears are now No. 17 in offensive rebounding. For a team that often plays smaller at power forward, that’s incredibly impressive.
Baylor is the first team to hold Arizona below 50 points since Feb. 26, 2011 at UCLA. It’s the first time Arizona was held below 50 at home since Jan. 21, 2009 vs. Arizona State.#SicArizona | #1TGF pic.twitter.com/bbqLse7K8q— Baylor Basketball (@BaylorMBB) December 16, 2018
2) The defense has been awesome: Baylor ranks 39th in defensive efficiency. The Bears struggle in two defensive categories: free throw rate and defensive rebounding. Some of Baylor’s problems with fouling are because they’re picking up bad fouls on offense. Mario Kegler drew two off-ball screening fouls in the first four minutes, and the Bears were victims of some bad charge calls.
Baylor’s defense is hampered by the offenses’s issues. With so many turnovers, teams get a chance to run against the Bears. And as mentioned, with the Bears’ offense getting whistled for so many offensive fouls, the defense is closer to the bonus than it would otherwise be.
All of this is a long way of saying the best path to Baylor improving defensively is for the offense to get better. Baylor can only be so good defensively when the offense creates easier opportunities for opponents to run and puts them near the bonus.
3) The team has to shoot better: 2-of-13 from three in the first half and 26.7% from the field. It’s a miracle the Bears weren’t facing another score like they did in Wichita with that shooting performance.
The Bears are now 309th in 3-point percentage. They missed 10 free throws too, which puts them at 276th in free throw percentage.
We’re far enough into the season that Baylor just might be this bad from the field. But so many of these guys have shot much better in past seasons. Hopefully they return to form.