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Baylor MBB at Oklahoma: Three Stats that Will Decide the Game

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Later this afternoon, #5 Baylor Men’s Basketball (16-2) plays their first Big-12 rematch against the unranked Oklahoma Sooners (12-6). Before their first meeting, I wrote that Baylor needed to play solid defense inside, out-rebound the Sooners, and win the turnover battle.

Baylor won 84 to 74 in Waco earlier this month. Let’s see how they won and if we should expect something similar today.

Three Point Defense

Baylor did a horrible job defending inside the the arc, allowing Oklahoma to make 24 two pointers on 32 attempts (75%). Keep in mind that Oklahoma is elite scoring inside — the Sooners average a 60% two point percentage this season (3rd in the country) — but 75% is still unacceptable.

Fortunately for the Bears, Oklahoma went 5 for 20 on the perimeter (25%), well below their season average of 34% (164th in the country).

I don’t expect Oklahoma to shoot this poorly from deep at home, but I do expect Baylor to consistently challenge these attempts. Baylor holds their opponents to a 3.5 percentage point lower shooting percentage from three than their opponents average in other games (60th in the country).

Rebounding Differential

Oklahoma is really bad at offensive rebounding, and it showed against Baylor. They ordinarily collect 24% of available offensive rebounds (277th in the country), and Baylor typically holds their opponents to a 4 percentage point lower offensive rebounding rate (84th in the country).

Earlier this month? Oklahoma had 3 offensive boards to Baylor’s 22 defensive rebounds. That’s a 12% offensive rebounding rate!

On the other side, Oklahoma is really good at defensive rebounding. They hold their opponents to an 8 percentage point lower offensive rebounding rate (5th in the country). Baylor typically gets 36% of their offensive rebound opportunities (11th in the country).

Last game, Baylor had 12 offensive rebounds to Oklahoma’s 13 defensive rebounds. I don’t know if Baylor can replicate such dominance on the offensive and defensive glass, but if they do, a 48% oreb% and 88% dreb% will win them a lot of games.

Turnovers

ESPN’s post-game recap nailed it:

Adam Flager glanced down at the stat sheet and groaned. James Akinjo didn’t even want to see the Baylor turnovers he knew were glaring on the page.

Oklahoma kept the game close with great interior shooting and 20 Baylor turnovers. To be fair, the Sooners also turned it over 17 times themselves, but this should have been an area that Baylor dominated.

Baylor’s average turnover rate of 17% (150th in the country) is not great, but against Oklahoma, they had a season-high 26% turnover rate. Oklahoma is not a +9-turnover-rate type of team. The Sooners typically force their opponents to turn the ball over only 3 percentage points more often than their opponents average in other games (56th in the country).

On offense, Oklahoma is still bad at protecting the ball with a season average turnover rate of 20% (326th in the country). Baylor has fallen off a little on their forced-turnover rate, but it’s still really good. The Bears force opponents to turn the ball over 5 percentage points more often than what their opponents give up in other games (20th in the country). They have the capacity to improve upon their previous 23% forced turnover rate against Oklahoma.

KenPom prediction: Baylor 72, Oklahoma 67