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Baylor-Iowa State: Preview and Prediction

The Bears look to keep winning

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament-Baylor vs. Iowa State William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor takes on Iowa State at 7:00 tomorrow in Waco. The game airs on ESPN+.

The Bears are 12 point favorites on KenPom. They’re given an 87% chance on that metric.

Because I spent a lot of time breaking down the Kansas win, and Baylor’s a heavy favorite, and we have a football coaching search, this will not be the longest preview. We’ll return to the longer form for the Oklahoma State game.

Here are three keys:

1) Defending Tyrese Haliburton- Haliburton is a potential top 10 pick in the NBA Draft. He’s by far Iowa State’s best player, and Davion Mitchell and the guards will have to watch out for him.

Haliburton’s shot is a little longer, but he’s hit 42% of his triples. He’ll fire away and work off the ball.

2) Fire away- Baylor is better than Iowa State, so they’ll work the ball to Freddie Gillespie and drive plenty, but Iowa State gives up a ton of threes. And often those are good looks, as evidence by their poor 3-point percentage defense.

Baylor’s run off screens the last few years. Jared Butler and MaCio Teague should catch and be ready to shoot.

3) Defend the perimeter- Baylor should close hard. Iowa State can only win this game if they go insane from deep, or Baylor has an insanely poor shooting day. The Bears have better players and better coaches. They won’t lose if both teams play close to average.

Prediction: Baylor has a good deal more talent, and they shoot well enough to pull away. I’ll take Baylor 76-60.