Baylor Women’s Basketball (#15, 12-4) finds itself as a rare underdog when they host the Iowa State Cyclones (#7, 16-2) later this afternoon. The Cylcone’s lost their last game to #15 Texas (yes, both Baylor and Texas are tied at #15). Here are three stats that will determine whether Baylor can force them to lose to #15 in back-to-back games.
Three Point Defense
Iowa State has one of the top 10 offenses in the country, and a big part of that is their three point shooting. The Cyclones attempt a lot of threes — 44% of all shot attempts (17th in the country) — and they make an incredible 37% of them (15th in the country).
This is a bad matchup for the Bears. Baylor plays stout defense inside, but they are only slightly above average around the perimeter. Baylor’s opponents shoot 1.4 percentage points worse from deep when they play Baylor versus their average in other games (118th in the country).
Baylor needs to play their best defense of the season against Iowa State. If they can chase the Cyclones off the perimeter, I like their chances.
There are two things worth watching regarding free throws. First, can Baylor make it to the line at all? Baylor likes to force the ball inside and get fouled; for every 10 field goal attempts, Baylor attempts 3.4 free throws (33rd in the country). Iowa State excels at playing defense without fouling. Their opponents register a free throw rate 10 percentage points lower than their opponents earn in other games (3rd in the country).
Second, will Iowa State make every free throw they attempt? Iowa State is one of the best free throw shooting teams in the country making over 80% of their FTs (2nd in the country). Oddly, Baylor’s opponents register a 7 percentage point better free throw shooting percentage when they play Baylor than they average in other games (349th in the country).
Is Baylor simply the unluckiest team in the country, or does Baylor only foul sharp-shooting guards? I don’t have the data to answer that question!
Fortunately for Baylor, Iowa State has an OK free throw rate of 3 FT attempts per 10 field goal attempts (134th in the country). If the Bears play clean defense, we may not need to see whether it’s possible for a team shoot better than 100% from the charity stripe.
Two Point Offense
In all likelihood, Baylor will need a great offensive showing to keep up with Iowa State. Their best chance of doing so is with stellar two point shooting. The Bears average 50% from two (38th in the country), but the Cyclones hold their opponents to a 4 percentage point lower two point shooting percentage than their opponents average in other games (63rd in the country).
46% from two is still a more efficient shot (0.92 points per attempt) than what Baylor is expected to do from deep, but just barely. The Bears make 32% of their threes (121st in the country), and Iowa State holds their opponents to a 2 percentage point lower three point shooting percentage (88th in the country). For those doing the math, that’s an expected 0.9 points per attempt from deep for Baylor.
Her Stop Stats Prediction: Baylor 71, Iowa State 69