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Baylor at Kansas State: Three Keys and Prediction

Baylor looks for their 11th Big 12 win

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Baylor Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor takes on Kansas State at 7:00 on ESPN2. The game is in Manhattan.

Baylor lost the first game 70-63. Makai Mason and King McClure missed that one. Both should be available today. Kansas State will be without Cartier Diarra. Dean Wade also did not look like himself in Lawrence on Monday.

Three Keys:

1) 3-point attempts: Without Mason and McClure, Baylor didn’t get as many 3-point attempts in Waco. Baylor took eight more 2-point shots than 3-point shots. Baylor shot 59% from two, but they will likely struggle to shoot that well inside the arc a second time. Kansas State is hard to beat off the dribble, with likely Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Barry Brown and two other strong defensive guards in Kamau Stokes and Xaiver Sneed.

The formula for beating Kansas State has been attempting threes. The Wildcats like to overload sides of the floor and tag big men rolling to the hoop. Here’s Kansas State’s opponent 3-point attempts in losses:

The Bears went 6-of-24 from deep in the first matchup. They’ll have Mason and McClure today. The Bears normally won’t shoot that poorly either. Baylor’s much more likely to beat Kansas State’s top 10 defense with a much better 3-point shooting Mario Kegler, Devonte Bandoo and Jared Butler letting it fly.

2) Defensive rebounding- Kansas State collected an offensive rebound on 49% of their shots in Waco. That’s well over Baylor’s No. 1 national offensive rebounding rate of 40%. Makol Mawien and Wade are bigger than Baylor’s main rotation players. But if Baylor goes zone, they can’t allow so many second chance opportunities.

3) Focus on the corners in the zone- Sneed will try to set up in the corner and hit shots, if Baylor rotates late to Wade in the middle of the zone. Baylor’s had some issues rotating quickly to guys in corners—Tyrese Haliburton got some open looks in Ames—and they can’t let Sneed get too many open looks.


If Diarra was playing, I’d take Kansas State. He’s a quick menace for Baylor’s defense.

Baylor pulls the slight upset. The Bears should much better from three, and Wade shows he’s not quite back to 100%. I’ll take Baylor 72-68.