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Baylor-Oklahoma State: Three Keys and Prediction

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Baylor looks to win 20 straight

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Baylor (20-1, 9-0) takes on Oklahoma State (11-11, 1-8) at 5:00 in Waco. The game airs on ESPN2.

Baylor won the first meeting 75-68. Oklahoma State started hot from three, but with a good run by Devonte Bandoo, Baylor pulled away late.

Given I have a long profile of Davion Mitchell coming out next week, we did a podcast and I have an article coming out for SB Nation on Baylor, this will be a quick preview.

Three Keys:

1) Limit 3-point attempts: The Cowboys aren’t great from the perimeter, but Baylor is a 91% favorite on KenPom. Oklahoma State has to get hot from three to have a chance, and Baylor should work to take away those chances by not over-helping at the rim.

2) Take open threes immediately: Oklahoma State played a lot of zone in the first game, and Baylor sometimes worked a little too long to find a perfect shot. Bandoo, Jared Butler and MaCio Teague should just let it rip and avoid any risk of transition opportunities off turnovers.

3) Put them away: Baylor’s had lulls against Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas State. That’s understandable as the nation’s No. 1 overall team in the early NCAA reveal, but Baylor needs to put some of these teams away earlier. A truly incredible problem, but Gonzaga and San Diego State play nobody the rest of the way, so Baylor doesn’t want to risk losing the South Region by blowing a stupid game.

Prediction:

While I maintain Oklahoma State is better than they’ve played, the Cowboys are not close to as good as the Bears.

Baylor does well enough from three, and Oklahoma State losses by a good margin. I’ll take Baylor 74-56.