Following a disappointing loss in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, #4 Baylor Men’s Basketball (18-3) returns to conference play with a home game against the West Virginia Mountaineers (13-7). In their last meeting, Baylor won 77-68.
Here are three stats that will decide if Baylor sweeps the season series against the Mountaineers.
Three Point Offense
Previously against West Virginia, Baylor shot 44% from behind the arc, thanks to the spectacular games of LJ Cryer (25 points, 5 for 9 from three) and Matthew Mayer (20 points, 5 for 8 from three).
Cryer’s status against WVU is unknown after missing Saturday’s game, and this game may come down to whether the rest of the team can fill the void and shoot well from deep.
For the season, Baylor averages a 37% three point shooting percentage (46th in the country). West Virginia is above average defending against the three, as their opponents shoot 2.6 percentage points worse against the Mountaineers than they typically do in other games (83rd in the country).
I listed offensive rebounding as a key stat in the first matchup between these two teams, and it ended up not mattering much. Baylor had 10 offensive boards for an offensive rebounding rate of 30%, below their per-game average of 36% (8th in the country).
To be fair, only two more offensive rebounds would have pushed Baylor to their average, but against a team that allows their opponents to register an offensive rebounding rate 3 percentage points higher than their opponents typically do (329th in the country), this was still disappointing.
The Bears won comfortably last time without doing better on the offensive glass, but I am doubling-down on my prediction that Baylor will dominate in this stat tonight.
Once again, I think turnovers have the potential to decide this game. Previously, turnovers were mostly a wash, as West Virginia had the slight edge with 12 turnovers to Baylor’s 13. Per possession, that translates to a turnover rate of 18% and 19%, respectively.
I expect a lot more turnovers this time around. Baylor tends to turn the ball over on 18% of possessions (219th in the country), and West Virginia forces their opponents to turn the ball over 5.6 percentage points more often than their opponents do in other games (15th in the country).
On the other side, West Virginia turns the ball over on 17% of possessions (126th in the country), and Baylor forces their opponents to turn the ball over 5.8 percentage points more often than their opponents do in other games (12th in the country).
Ken Pom Prediction: Baylor 76, West Virginia 61