Our #2 ranked Men’s Basketball team (8-0) hosts #6 Villanova Wildcats (7-2) in one of the marquee matchups of the season. Here are three stats to keep an eye on in this clash between two National Champion programs.
Baylor is the second best team in the country in forcing turnovers. The Bears average over 19 per game, or slightly more than one turnover every four possessions.
On the other side, Villanova is the sixth best team in the country in limiting turnovers. The Wildcats average only 8 turnovers per game, good for a turnover rate of 12% per possession.
Look for Baylor to be aggressive and make Villanova uncomfortable like they did in the Sweet 16 last year. Remember, Nova had sixteen turnovers in that contest.
To no surprise to anyone who has followed college basketball the last few years, Villanova shoots a lot of threes...and they shoot them very well. Half of their shot attempts come from behind the arc (10th in the country), and they hit them 40% of the time (15th in the country).
Baylor has an above average three-point defense. Teams shoot 4.1 percentage points worse while playing against Baylor relative to their average in other games (77th in the country).
I expect Villanova to test the Bear’s perimeter defense early and often. Nova shot sub-18% on threes last time they played Baylor, something that is highly unlikely to happen again.
While not as much of a mismatch as Villanova’s three-point offense vs. Baylor’s three-point defense, Baylor does have an advantage inside the arc. The Bears attempt a lot of two-point field goals — roughly two thirds of their shots — and make 57% of them (37th in the country).
Villanova is above average in defending against interior shots. Teams shoot 47% on two-point attempts against the Wildcats, 4.5 percentage points worse than they shoot in other games. That said, -4.5 percentage points is only the 105th lowest in the country.
If the Bears can create turnovers and out-rebound the Wildcats on their three-point shots, expect to see a lot of fast-break opportunities and highly-efficient two-point offense.