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Baylor MBB at Texas: Three Stats that Will Decide the Game

Just two days after their victory over the Kansas Jayhawks, #3 Baylor Men’s Basketball (24-5) travels to Austin to face the #3 Texas Longhorns (21-8).

Roughly two weeks ago, Baylor overcame the sudden injury of Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua to beat Texas 80 to 63. Here are three stats that will determine if the Bears can win the rematch, too.

Two Point Defense

As I pointed out in my last preview, Texas doesn’t have many ways to score on offense. They are OK inside the arc, making 52% of their two point shots (110st in the country), and bad outside the arc, making 32% of their three point shots (273rd in the country).

Baylor isn’t great defending inside, holding their opponents to only a 1.4 percentage point lower two point shooting percentage than their opponents average in other games (172nd in the country), but they are pretty good defending along the perimeter, holding their opponents to a 4 percentage point lower three point shooting percentage (32nd in the country).

Texas had a lot of difficulty scoring inside when they last played Baylor, making only 31% of their two point shot attempts. I expect Texas to have more success at home, but if Baylor can hold Texas to sub-40% from two, they should come out ahead.

Turnover Differential

Texas won the turnover battle when these two teams last played each other, and they are posed to win it again tonight.

For the season, Baylor averages a turnover rate of 17.6% (190th in the country), and Texas forces their opponents into a 4.0 percentage point higher turnover rate than their opponents average in other games (22nd in the country).

Texas has a slightly lower turnover rate of 17.0% (138th in the country), and Baylor forces their opponents into a 4.1 percentage point higher turnover rate than their opponents average in other games (20th in the country).

Previously, Baylor lost the ball 12 times, for a turnover rate of 19.4%, and Texas lost the ball 10 times, for a turnover rate of 15.3%. I expect both teams to commit more turnovers this time around.

Rebounding Differential

While Texas should sneak out extra possessions with a positive turnover margin, Baylor should extend more possessions with a positive rebounding margin.

Baylor is an elite offensive rebounding team, collecting 35% of their offensive rebound opportunities (7th in the country), and Texas is a below average defensive rebounding team, allowing their opponents to register a 0.5 percentage point higher oreb% than their opponents typically have in other games (252nd in the country).

Texas is a decent offensive rebounding team, collecting 30% of their offensive rebound opportunities (72nd in the country), and Baylor is an average defensive rebounding team, holding their opponents to a 1.1 percentage point lower oreb% (173rd in the country).

This game may come down to which team has the most opportunities to score, and that will depend on whether Baylor’s advantage in rebounding can outweigh Texas’ advantage in turnovers.

Ken Pom Prediction: Baylor 68, Texas 67