No. 1 or No. 2 Baylor—depending on your favorite poll—takes on Washington at 5:00 p.m. Central Time. The Bears are 10.5 point favorites.
Washington has not played this season. From last year’s roster, they lost two McDonald’s All-American freshmen to the NBA.
1) Limit Quade Green- The former Kentucky point guard led Washington’s offense in the first semester last year. He then missed the second semester because he was academically ineligible. They went 11-4 with Green and 4-13 without him.
Davion Mitchell needs to make Green’s day difficult.
2) Take open shots against the 2-3 zone- Mike Hopkins was a longtime Syracuse assistant and runs a modified version of Syracuse’s 2-3 zone. He’s morphed it to match the opponent, as demonstrated by their work against Kansas a few years back where LaGerald Vick couldn’t hit a floater.
The Huskies lack the length of last season. They’ll likely have to overload toward the ball, which should set up passes on the other side of the zone.
3) Better rim protection- After last night’s game, acting head coach Jerome Tang said that they didn’t get any rim protection against Louisiana. The Bears finished with one block, and Louisiana shot 62% from two. That won’t work, especially as the schedule ramps up next week. Baylor’s bigs need to contest better.
Despite the 30 point win, Tang was not thrilled in the postgame. He understands how great this team can be, perhaps best exemplified by saying that LJ Cryer could be the best freshman guard Baylor has ever had. The Bears will be very good plenty of seasons in the next decade, but this roster and coaching staff is uniquely strong.
Baylor’s defense plays better tonight, and even though they fail to shoot 56% from three again, the Bears move the ball well. I’ll take Baylor 80-66.