Our Daily Bears has a lot of great coverage for the Men’s basketball (#10, 23-5) game tonight against the Kansas Jayhawks (#5, 23-4), including previews and recaps from their previous meeting, so I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Here are three stats that, if Baylor does well in, will lead to a Bear’s victory.
Two Point Offense
Baylor is a good two point shooting team, but they need to prove it against an inconsistent Kansas defense. Baylor averages a 54% two point shooting percentage (53rd in the country), but Kansas held them to 32% earlier this month. The Jayhawks typically hold their opponents to only a 3 percentage point worse two point shooting percentage (107th in the country).
Baylor does not want to depend on perimeter shooting. Kansas’ defense is excellent against three point shots, holding teams to a 4.5 percentage point worse three point shooting percentage (21st in the country), and Baylor has struggled without LJ Cryer in the lineup. In conference games with Cryer, Baylor averages a 38% three point shooting percentage. Without Cryer, Baylor’s average falls to 31%.
Two Point Defense
Baylor needs to play aggressive defense against Kansas and remind them who won the title last year. Baylor’s opponents typically shoot 3.5 percentage points worse from three (41st in the country), but only 1 percentage point worse from two (194th in the country). The latter stat is more relevant in this matchup.
Kansas is an elite two point shooting team, and they don’t waste many shots with contested threes. The Jayhawks average a 56% two point shooting percentage (18th in the country) and a 36% three point shooting percentage (62nd in the country). They only attempt 34% of their shots from deep (279th in the country).
As a reminder (not that anyone needs one), KU made a ridiculous 64% of their two point shots in the previous meeting between these two teams.
Both teams are excellent at offensive rebounding and good, but not great, at defensive rebounding. If it’s close, whoever has the edge in rebounds tonight will likely win.
On offense, Baylor collects 36% of their offensive rebounds opportunities (5th in the country), and Kansas collects 33% (28th in the country). Advantage, Baylor.
On defense, Baylor holds their opponents to a 1.8 percentage point lower oreb% (145th in the country), and Kansas holds their opponents to a 2.7 percentage point lower oreb% (107th in the country). Advantage, Kansas.
Like with LJ Cryer on offense, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua’s absence on defense cannot be overlooked. In Baylor’s three games without Everyday Jon, Baylor’s oreb% is a lowly 26%. They’ve also recorded three of their eight worst defensive rebounding rates.
In the words of RGIII, “no pressure, no diamonds”. Tonight is the night that Baylor can earn the diamonds on a conference-champion ring.
Ken Pom Prediction: Baylor 78, Kansas 74