Our freshly-minted #1 ranked Baylor Bears (9-0) travel to Eugene on Saturday to clip the wings of the struggling Oregon Ducks (6-5). Baylor has already beaten Stanford by 38 points and Arizona State by 12 points, two teams that Oregon had close loses to.
Can the Bears go 3-0 versus Pac-12 opponents to start the season? It will depend on these three statistics.
Baylor hasn’t shot the ball very well from behind the arc, but it hasn’t hurt them yet. One main reason is their elite offensive rebounding. The Bears have an offensive rebounding percentage of 37% (12th in the country), which is 10.6 percentage points higher than what their opponents typically allow (16th in the country).
The Ducks are an average defensive rebounding team, and they hold their opponents to an offensive rebounding rate 3.4 percentage points below their season average (140th in the country).
I don’t expect Baylor to correct all of their shooting woes in Eugene, but I do expect them to overcome missed shots with extended possessions.
Three Point Defense
Oregon’s offensive philosophy is the polar opposite of Villanova’s. The Ducks attempt threes on only 36% of their shots (226th in the country), and they don’t shoot them particularly well at 33% (196th in the country). Oregon makes up for this deficiency with an above average two point shooting percentage of 53% (113th in the country).
All that said, I think Oregon’s best chance of winning this game is by shooting well behind the arc. As the lesser team, Oregon wants to increase the variability of the game and hope they get lucky with some shots falling — you do that by attempting a lot of threes.
Whatever the Ducks try to do won’t be easy. Baylor holds teams to 6.9 percentage points worse shooting on twos (46th in the country) and 5.8 percentage points worse shooting on threes (35th in the country).
I know I sound like a broken record, but until someone shows they can beat Baylor’s hyperactive and frustrating defense, generating turnovers is going to be a key to the game. Last week, Baylor got a top ten team in protecting the ball to turn it over on 20% of their possessions — 7.9 percentage points more than their season average. Ever consistent, this is almost exactly what Baylor has averaged all season (7.7 percentage points, 6th in the country).
Oregon is no Villanova, but they are an above average team in limiting turnovers with a turnover rate of only 16% (80th in the country). It will be difficult for the Ducks to win this game if they turn it over on 24% of their possessions.