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Baylor-TCU: Preview and Prediction

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Sic ‘Em!

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NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Baylor Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Baylor (18-1, 7-0) takes on TCU (13-7, 4-3) at 3:00 Saturday at the Ferrell Center. The game airs on ESPN2.

KenPom gives Baylor an 89% chance to win. He likes the Bears by 13.

Baylor is an 11.5 point favorite on most Vegas books.

Because I’m working on a long profile of Freddie Gillespie and another one on Davion Mitchell (likely to run on Monday and Tuesday of next week, but possibly Tuesday and Wednesday), I am back to the three keys version of the preview. We’ll get a long preview for the game next Saturday against Oklahoma State.

If you need tickets, you can buy them on StubHub here.

Three Keys:

1) Don’t let Desmond Bane go insane- Bane is by far TCU’s best player. He shoots 44% from three and has been the team MVP on KenPom in six of their games. He’s an adept scorer from multiple spots on the floor, so Baylor won’t want to abandon him.

2) Get physical- TCU is 313th in getting to the line and 339th in free throw percentage. If TCU gets to the line, it’s not the end of the world. West Virginia blew them out by 32. They’re are some differences between Baylor and West Virginia, but Baylor can mimic the tough style of play the Mountaineers’ play.

3) Pull away- Baylor failed to pull away from Oklahoma, Butler and Arizona. All three of those teams, and especially the last two, are much better than TCU. But the Bears are much better than the Horned Frogs. They need to avoid keeping this one close enough for something stupid to happen.

Prediction:

Maybe I’m overly confident about this game, but Baylor just has a much better team. Other than beating Texas Tech by 11, there’s not much that’s impressive about TCU’s resume. They’re No. 65 on KenPom—that’s a decent team—but Baylor is No. 3 on KenPom and ranks somewhere between first and fifth in nearly every advanced ranking system. There’s a reason KenPom and Vegas like the Bears by double-digits.

TCU can’t pull off a miracle, and Baylor pulls away. I’ll take Baylor 72-56.