Baylor Men’s Basketball (#7, 21-4) travels to Lubbock this evening with a chance to avenge their first lost of the season. The Texas Tech Red Raiders (#11, 19-6) sit one game behind Baylor in the conference standings with a chance to move up to second in the Big 12.
The recent injury to Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, in addition to the lingering injury to LJ Cryer, will force a big change to Baylor’s lineup, making this game more uncertain than usual.
That said, here are three stats that I believe will tell the story of the game.
Three Point Offense
Texas Tech is an elite defensive team. They hold their opponents to 11.7 fewer points per game than their opponents average in other games (11th in the country), and Ken Pom ranks them as the 3rd best team in the country in defensive efficiency.
Tech is especially good at defending inside the three point line. Teams shoot 7 percentage points worse on two point attempts when they play Tech than they average in other games (9th in the country).
If Tech has a weakness on defense, it’s contesting perimeter shots. Teams only shoot 1 percentage point worse on three point attempts when they play Tech (134th in the country).
Baylor is a good three point shooting team, averaging a three point shooting percentage of 36% (77th in the country), and they are fairly average in how frequently they attempt threes, with a rate of 38% (180th in the country).
In their first meeting, Baylor took 43% of their shots from deep and made 33% of them. I think Baylor will need to shoot better tonight if they are going to win.
Two Point Defense
Tech’s offense lags behind their defense in most statistics. They rank 114th in the country with 73.8 points per game, and they are 59th in offensive efficiency per Ken Pom.
Their biggest deficiency on offense is three point shooting. The Red Raiders shoot the deep ball inaccurately (32%, 271st in the country) and sparingly (35% of field goal attempts, 255th in the country).
Tech makes up for their lack of perimeter shooting with excellent two point shooting and frequent trips to the free throw line. They make 55% of their two point attempts (31st in the country), and they have a free throw rate of 3.8 free throw attempts per 10 field goal attempts (26th in the country).
In this matchup, I’m more worried about shots from the field than shots from the charity stripe. Baylor holds their opponents to a 1 percentage point worse two point shooting percentage than their opponents average in other games (197th in the country) and a 3 percentage point worse free throw rate (118th in the country).
A month ago, Tech shot 59% from two and only attempted 7 free throws. Without EJ guarding the paint, the rest of the team will need to step up.
Both teams have offenses with a proclivity to turn the ball over and defenses that excel at forcing turnovers. Whichever team wins the turnover battle will likely win the game, too.
When Baylor has the ball, they turn it over on 18.2% of possessions (223rd in the country). Tech’s defense forces their opponents to turn the ball over 3.8 percentage points more often than their opponents typically do in other games (27th in the country).
When Tech has the ball, they turn it over on 18.6% of possessions (251st in the country). Baylor’s defense forces their opponents to turn the ball over 5.0 percentage points more often than their opponents typically do in other games (16th in the country).
Tech won the turnover battle in the previous meeting, 12 to 14, and that made all the difference at the end.
Ken Pom Prediction: Texas Tech 67, Baylor 66