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NIT First Round: Baylor-Wagner Preview and Prediction

A short look at Baylor’s first game

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Baylor Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor (18-14) takes on Wagner (23-9) at 6:00 Tuesday in the Ferrell Center. The game airs on ESPN2.

We’ll do a very short preview for this one. If Baylor wins, we’ll return to our usual long format.

Baylor is a massive favorite. Wagner finished 171st on KenPom. They played just one team ranked better than 200 on KenPom. In that game, Wagner lost by 44 to Missouri.

On offense, Baylor will likely pound the ball inside. Wagner’s power forwards are 6’3 and 6’4. Their centers top out at 6’8. With limited size, they rank 348th nationally in foul rate and 170th in defensive rebounding. Jo Lual-Acuil, Terry Maston and Tristan Clark should feast.

On defense, Baylor needs to watch out for 3-point shooting, and Wagner’s offensive rebounding. The Seahawks are 7th in offensive rebounding and did a fine job on the glass against Missouri. Wagner should understand they’re the clear underdog and hope they can get hot from the NIT’s longer 3-point line.

Ultimately, this is a game Baylor should easily win. The Bears are a matchup nightmare for Wagner. KenPom gives Baylor a 90% chance. That seems low with Baylor’s distinct size advantage. I’ll take Baylor 78-56.