Our #5 Baylor Women’s Basketball Team (9-1) hosts #13 Michigan Wolverines (10-1) on Sunday at noon CST. Both teams have a chance to make deep tournament runs, and the outcome of this game may be the difference between a one or two seed in March.
Here are three stats I’ll be watching for in the game.
Baylor is a great team getting to the free throw line taking 21 FTs per game. But while their free throw rate (free three attempts per field goal attempt) of 36% is 32nd nationally, they only shoot 72% (123rd in the country).
Michigan is a well disciplined team and rarely gives their opponents opportunities at the charity stripe. Their opponents have averaged a free throw rate of only 20% (23rd in the country).
If Baylor can get Michigan to foul AND if Baylor can shoot well on their free throws (two big “ifs”!), the Bears will put themselves in a good position to win this game.
Baylor is OK when it comes to collecting offensive rebounds and generating second-chance scoring opportunities. They average an offensive rebounding rate of 35% (93rd) so far this season.
Michigan is really good at gathering defensive rebounds. They hold their opponents to an oreb% of 26%, which is 6.0 percentage points lower than their opponents average in other games (31st in the country).
If Baylor can shoot well (thus nullifying Michigan’s advantage on the glass) or play physical and get offensive rebounds, I like the Bear’s chances.
Michigan’s offensive philosophy would make Kim Mulkey proud. The Wolverines only attempt a three on 26% of their shots (299th in the country), and they are only average in making their rare three attempt (32%, 118th in the country). Michigan makes up for this deficiency with solid two-point offense. They make 50% of their shots inside the arc (50th in the country).
Baylor is an elite team at defending close to the basket. They hold opponents to 37% shooting, 9.6 percentage points worse than their opponents average in other games (14th in the country).
If Baylor continues their defensive dominance inside, I don’t expect Michigan to be able to adjust and shoot well on the perimeter.