The Kansas State Wildcats (10-8) are an interesting team. They opened conference play losing to Oklahoma by 2, Texas by 13, West Virginia by 3, and TCU by 3. Since then, they’ve beat Texas Tech by 11, beat Texas by 1, and lost to Kansas by 3.
Will this strong run continue against the home team, #4 Baylor Bears (17-2)? Here are three stats that should determine the answer!
Three Point Offense
It seems like every time I say that Baylor’s opponent is weaker inside and the Bears should focus on scoring twos, someone *cough LJ Cryer cough* will go 5 for 6 from deep.
Kansas State is elite defending against the three. Their opponents shoot 7.6 percentage points worse from deep than their opponents average in other games (2nd in the country). From two, KSU is just OK. Their opponents shoot 1.8 percentage points worse (181st in the country).
Baylor is pretty balanced between the two and three point shots. The Bears make 55% of their twos (57th in the country) and 36% of their threes (59th in the country). In expectation, the point value of a two point shot is higher against this Wildcat defense than a three point shot. But if Baylor rises to the occasion from deep, it will be tough for Kansas State to keep up.
Three Point Defense
KSU is not a great scoring team. With only 68.6 points per game, the Wildcats are 259th in the country. KenPom ranks them 104th in offensive efficiency. When they score points, it typically comes from beyond the three point line.
Kansas State makes 35% of their threes (122nd in the country) and attempts deep shots on 41% of all field goal attempts (118th in the country). They make a paltry 49% from two (242nd in the country), and they rank 232nd in free throw rate.
Baylor is relatively better defending on the perimeter than inside. The Bears hold their opponents to a 3.5 percentage point worse three point shooting percentage (59th in the country) and 2.1 percentage point worse two point shooting percentage (167th in the country) than their opponents average in other games.
Baylor should chase KSU shooters off the perimeter and force them to win battles against the length inside.
Baylor should dominate the offensive and defensive glass this game, limiting second-chance opportunities for Kansas State and extending possessions of their own.
The Bears collect 35% of available offensive rebounds (14th in the country), and KSU only holds their opponents to a 2.6 percentage point lower offensive rebounding percentage than their opponents average in other games (140th in the country).
On the other side of the ball, Kansas State collects 25% of offensive rebounds (245th in the country), and Baylor typically holds their opponents to a 3.5 percentage point lower offensive rebounding rate (100th in the country).
Look for a big advantage in rebounding for Baylor. If that doesn’t materialize, I expect it to be a close game.
KenPom Prediction: Baylor 75, Kansas State 61