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Baylor MBB vs TCU: Three Stats that Will Decide the Game

UPDATE — THROW THE STATS OUT THE WINDOW

Nothing can get the bad taste of losing out of one’s mouth more than crushing an in-state rival at home. Baylor Men’s Basketball (#7, 21-5) has the chance to do just that against TCU (16-7) early on Saturday.

When the two teams played each other over a month ago, TCU closed out the first half with a 12-2 run to go up by 6, but that lead didn’t last long. Baylor stormed back in the second half and won the game 76 to 64.

Here are three stats that will likely determine what happens in round two.

Three Point Offense

Like most teams in the Big 12, TCU is good on defense. They hold their opponents to 8.6 fewer points per game than their opponents average in other games (31st in the country), and one of the biggest reasons is their ability to hold opponents to a 4.3 percentage point lower two point shooting percentage (52nd in the country).

TCU’s biggest weakness on defense is contesting three point shots. Their opponents only shoot 0.8 percentage points worse from deep than their opponents average in other games (157th in the country).

Fortunately for the good guys, Baylor just got their leading scorer back, and he’s deadly from deep. LJ Cryer has a team-leading 47% three point shooting percentage, and he didn’t look rusty in his first outing post-injury.

If Cryer is playing near full strength, we may see a repeat of the prior meeting, when Baylor shot 48% from three.

Rebounding Differential

Today’s game is an interesting battle between two elite offensive rebounding teams. Baylor collects 36% of their offensive rebound opportunities (5th in the country), and TCU collects 37% (2nd in the country).

TCU is also slightly better on the defensive glass. The Horned Frogs hold their opponents to a 3.4 percentage point lower offensive rebounding rate than their opponents average in other games (87th in the country). The Bears hold their opponents to a 2.3 percentage point lower offensive rebounding rate (132nd in the country).

If Baylor can get the edge in rebounding, they will have a huge advantage against a TCU offense that relies on rebounds to get their points. TCU only makes 50% of their two point attempts (188th in the country) and 29% of their three point attempts (344th in the country). What TCU lacks in accuracy, they make up for in volume.

For reference, Baylor lost the rebounding battle in their previous meeting with TCU, 28 to 32. The Bears had an offensive rebounding percentage of 28.6%, far below the Frog’s 37.5%.

Turnovers

Both teams have a proclivity to turn the ball over on offense, but only one team has a defense that can force turnovers with any consistency.

Baylor’s offense has a turnover rate of 18% (218th in the country), but TCU’s opponents only turn the ball over 0.2 percentage points more often than TCU’s opponents average in other games (177th in the country).

TCU’s offense has an even worse turnover rate of 20% (274th in the country), and Baylor’s opponents turn the ball over 5 percentage points more often than Baylor’s opponents average in other games (17th in the country).

TCU needs to be efficient on offense to keep up with Baylor. Losing the turnover battle will make that incredibly difficult. In the last meeting, TCU had 18 turnovers to Baylor’s 12.

Ken Pom Prediction: Baylor 75, TCU 62