It’s a double header Saturday in Waco against the Kansas Jayhawks, and up first is the Baylor Women’s Basketball team (#5, 22-5). They face a solid Kansas team (19-6) that is tied for third in the conference and looking to bounce back after their seven-game win streak was snapped earlier in the week.
Here are three stats to keep an eye on as you watch the game.
Three Point Offense
This game features a contest of strength versus strength whenever Baylor has the ball inside the perimeter. The Bears make 51% of their two point shot attempts (21st in the country), and the Jayhawks holds their opponents to a 6 percentage point lower two point shooting percentage than their opponents average in other games (15th in the country).
Does Baylor respond by taking more perimeter shots? Quite possibly. For the season, Baylor takes 32% of their field goal attempts from beyond the arc, and Kansas’ opponents typically register a 6 percentage point higher three point rate when they play KU (330st in the country). Against Kansas previously, Baylor took 40% of their shots from deep.
The increase in volume doesn’t necessarily mean Baylor is taking lower quality shots, either. Ordinarily, Baylor makes a respectable 34% of their three point shots (56th in the country), and Kansas holds their opponents to a 2 percentage point lower three point shooting percentage (96th in the country).
In the last meeting between these two teams, Baylor made 48% of their three point shots.
Three Point Defense
Kansas has a bigger incentive than Baylor to ramp up their perimeter shooting. The Jayhawks are a good two point shooting team, making 49% of their attempts (41st in the country), but they are an even better three point shooting team, making 35% of their attempts (27th in the country).
Baylor’s defense is better than KU’s defense defending inside the arc, but worse defending outside. The Bears hold their opponents to a 7 percentage point worse two point shooting percentage (12th in the country) but allow their opponents to earn a 0.2 better three point shooting percentage (177th in the country).
Previously, Kansas made an excellent 53% of their 19 three point shots, good for a three point rate of 34% (compared to their season average of 29%). Kansas probably won’t shoot the ball any better in Waco, but they still have room to attempt even more threes.
Free Throw Rate
In Lawrence, Baylor and Kansas had a similar number of free throw attempts (imagine me writing that in my MBB preview!), but I expect Kansas to get the upper hand in Waco.
Baylor has a good free throw rate of 33%, meaning that Baylor attempts a 3.3 free throws for every 10 field goal attempts (45th in the country). Kansas has an even better free throw rate of 36% (16th in the country).
Baylor is pretty average in the free throw rate they allow their opponents to earn. Baylor’s opponents have a 0.3 percentage point lower free throw rate than they average in other games (184th in the country). Kansas has an even better free throw rate allowed of -6 percentage points (44th in the country).
Baylor can outplay Kansas in a lot of areas, but an advantage on the free throw line might be enough to keep the game close.
Her Hoop Stats Prediction: Baylor 78, Kansas 63