Fresh off their road win in Eugene, the #1 Baylor Men’s Basketball Team (10-0) hosts the Alcorn State Braves (1-9) Monday evening. This isn’t the biggest mismatch remaining on the Bear’s schedule (that would be next week!), but the game shouldn’t be in doubt going into halftime.
Here are three statistics to keep an eye on if Alcorn State is going to make this game competitive.
Two Point Offense
Alcorn State is very nearly the worst team in Division 1 basketball when it comes to defending inside the perimeter. They allow their opponents to score on 59% of their two point shot attempts (357th in the country), which is 8.7 percentage points higher than their opponents score in other games (also 357th in the country). It’s so bad I almost had to change the y-axis on my graphs.
Baylor makes a respectable 55% of their shots inside the arc (52nd in the country), but against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the most similar comparison to Alcorn State (356th in the country in defending two point shots), Baylor made over 61%.
Alcorn State can’t allow Baylor to shoot this well if they want any chance of winning the game.
Three Point Defense
Alcorn State is horrid on offense. They shoot 41% on their twos (353rd in the country), 30% on their threes (293rd in the country), and only get to the free throw line on 25% of their shot attempts (307 in the country). It’s hard to score points if you can’t shoot the ball well inside the perimeter, outside the perimeter, or from the charity stripe.
As with Oregon (and this will be the only time I compare the Ducks and Braves), I think Alcorn State’s best strategy is to shoot a lot of threes and hope they go in. This isn’t a wild idea — their expected point value for three point attempts is 0.9 while their expected point value for two point attempts is 0.82.
To snuff out any hopes of an upset, Baylor should defend well on the perimeter. Their opponents shoot 29% behind the arc, which is 3.6 percentage points worse than they shoot in other games (92nd in the country).
There is only one stat where Alcorn State has an advantage over Baylor — offensive rebounding versus defensive rebounding. The Braves collect 28% of their missed shot attempts (164th in the country), and the Bears allow their opponents to rebound 26% of their missed shots (194th in the country).
Alcorn State is probably going to miss a lot of shots, but with enough attempts, some will eventually go in. Baylor can put this game away early if they own the glass and keep Alcorn State to one shot per possession.
KenPom prediction: Baylor 84, Alcorn State 51